2016 - A year which will definitely be an indelible chapter of the global history book. What have we not witnessed! The awaited end of conflict in Colombia, a humanitarian disaster in Aleppo, the Brexit Referendum, or the momentous Presidential Election of the United States; we have been a part of a tumultuous chaos which brought peace, disappointment and sorrow in various dimensions. But on November 8, 2016, when the entire world was anticipating a Western country’s political fate, our own nation was caught off guard when Prime Minister Modi declared the initiation of demonetization.
The onset of this sudden cash crunch in the economy led to a heated debate. But we are not here to demonize or celebrate the topic of demonetization. Our main goal is to divert the focus towards the unavoidable start of digitization because of this particular economic policy.
India is not a cashless economy, and the arrival of the demonetization left the common citizen ambling with doubts. People were frantically looking for change, standing outside ATM lines for hours, swarming inside the banks. The current scenario of Indian Market clearly projects that the consumers prefer cash payments over digital transactions. As online banking and its monetary dealings is an emerging medium, citizens are skeptical or rather unaware about its utilization.
A regular vegetable market or a family run grocery shop or a small time refreshment stall hardly renders the services of a card swiping machine or online money transfer. Their owners are simple people with an uncomplicated business strategy. Some of them don’t even have access to bank accounts, because maintaining personal savings by oneself wasn’t an issue until demonetization struck.
The National Institution for Transforming India, i.e. the NITI Aayog along with the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) launched a number of schemes to incentivize the use of electronic payments. But the major concern lies in the uncertainty of the consumer to experiment with digitization. So is giving away prizes an effective method for motivation?
The basic way to tackle with the oblivious approach of the consumers towards online transactions is computer literacy. And we have to start now, with the students of our country. According to a report in 2012 computer literacy in India is less than 7%, and the internet penetration rate stands at about 19% as per the FICCI-KPMG 2015 Report. But does an increase in the participation indicate that all users of the internet are knowledgeable about its responsible use? Most of the users of the Internet have been able to connect and explore the virtual world because of the widespread availability of smart phones.
So why is digital literacy so important?
Apart from the obvious fact that computer education is a practical addition of skills in our profile, it promotes the appropriate exploitation of virtual resources. The penetration of internet might be amplifying, but does it guarantee its best use? We have to keep in mind that by adopting computer education in schools we create a window for discussion and doubts. The learners will have countless misconceptions about the Internet. Through an educator’s direction they can discover the causes and the consequences of virtual violations.
Post demonetization many people are perplexed at the thought of using online payment methods. In such situation, children can educate their parents about safe surfing so that they can discern between the dishonest and the authentic monetary communication.
And we at The Colorss Foundation have been doing our bit towards the promotion of computer literacy through our endeavor Project Uttejana since 2014. Enhancing the computer proficiency of students from Class 7 to Class 12, our aim is to educate and inform kids belonging to the underprivileged background about the virtual world of communication. And to make it more effective we have coupled our primary goal of computer literacy with Life Skills Sessions helping learners become confident and, accountable in terms of thoughts and actions.
We believe that change is hard but if we look at a crisis as an opportunity we generate possibilities not just for us but for the people around us. And we want to help create an India which harbors resilience and innovation when times get rough.
If you’re interested to join or enquire please mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To know more about Colorss Foundation and our initiatives log on to http://colorss.org/
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