Hailed by media as ‘first cashless region,’ ground reality contradicts claims


Ever since the Centre’s Narendra Modi government has announced its note ban policy, its adverse after-effects have made the establishment incredibly panicky, thereby prompting it to frequently change rules.

The government has come under heavy criticism for changing the purpose of demonetisation from curbing black money to going cashless. And the government agencies made series of remarks to claim how the cashless drive had resulted in a huge success.

It was in this context that the Union Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir recently “commended the UT administration for taking the initiative to make Daman and Diu the first cashless region of the country”.

The government had even sent a release out on its official website highlighting Ahir’s visit to Diu.

The statement had further said, “Shri Ahir lauded the painstaking efforts of the UT Administrator Shri Praful Patel towards this end. At least 190 teams of trained volunteers visited over 25,000 households spread across the UT to educate their members about the benefits of cashless transactions.”

However, even when Ahir was only hailing the region for ‘aiming’ to become cashless region, the media reportage wasted no time in concluding that the region had actually become cashless.

A report by on Times of India-owned website on 21 December had declared, “the tiny Union Territory along the Arabian Sea coast, Daman and Diu, has become the first cashless region of the country.”

A day later, Zee News website had carried the almost identical headline saying, “In line with the government’s initiative of Digital India and e-transactions, Daman and Diu, a union territory along the Arabian Sea coast, has become the first cashless region of the country.”

However, a ground report by The Indian Express, appears to puncture Ahir’s claims.

In its report the paper said, “While Diu is a popular watering hole for tourists from dry Gujarat, only one of its 200-odd bars has a Point of Sale (PoS) machine, according to office-bearers of the Diu District Liquor Association (DDLA). About 60 bars run by hotels accept online and cheque payments, the rest depend on cash transactions.”

“We have applied for two PoS machines, and the banks have assured that they will be delivered early next month. Till then, we have to continue to deal in cash,” says Shyamji Vaishya, owner of Royal Wine Shop in Bandar Chowk was quoted as saying.