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New routes to cashlessness? ICTs, demonetisation, and the Indian informal economy

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conference contribution
posted on 05.09.2017 by Silvia Masiero
Information poverty, resulting from limited and distorted provision of relevant information on important matters, has increased the vulnerability of India’s poor to the crisis initiated by the announcement of demonetisation in November 2016. In this paper we draw on a study of digital finance providers and informal street sellers in Bangalore, conducted in the immediate aftermath of demonetisation. Using the theoretical lens of information poverty, we argue that technologies such as India’s biometric identification system (Aadhaar) do in principle help unbanked citizens obtain the digital identity that is needed to transact in a cashless economy. However, several design-reality gaps exist between extant financial technologies and the needs of informal street sellers, and digital tools seem to contribute only minimally to their integration in the new cashless system. Still, the marginalised communities affected by cashlessness hold highly valuable knowledge about the consequences of demonetisation, and use their first-hand information to enact a set of dynamic coping strategies.

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Business

Published in

Development Studies Association Conference

Citation

MASIERO, S., 2017. New routes to cashlessness? ICTs, demonetisation, and the Indian informal economy. Presented at the Development Studies Association Conference: Sustainability interrogated: societies, growth, and social justice (DSA 2017), Bradford, 6-8th September.

Version

SMUR (Submitted Manuscript Under Review)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2017

Notes

This is a conference paper.

Language

en

Location

Bradford, United Kingdom

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