Panaji, Dec 24: In a U-turn, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said it was neither possible nor desirable to make Goa a fully cashless state. Parrikar said the state government aimed to make only up to 50 per cent transactions in Goa cashless.
"Fully cashless is not possible, nor desirable, nor intended; what is intention is to reduce the extent of use of cash. Wherever possible, start doing transactions through a digital mode for which we intend to take it to 50 per cent from about 15 to 20 per cent as early as possible. There are so many difficulties, which are being surmounted now," he told reporters.
The former Goa Chief Minister was speaking on the sidelines of a state government function at the Secretariat here.
On November 27, speaking at a party rally in Goa, Parrikar said the coastal state would be India's first cashless state. The government was forced to do a re-think after Goa traders protested against the Commercial Taxes Department order this month to registered businesses to go cashless within 10 days.
The BJP state unit subsequently asked the state government to withdraw the controversial circular.
"The sales tax circular is not compulsory. We are promoting less-cash society. Though the English word for the actual transaction is cashless. A lot of transactions can take place through cards, Paytm, e-wallets and other mobile applications," Parrikar said.
The minister said in Goa around 26,000 people have been sensitised at various forums about digital transactions.
"Nearly 600-700 point-of-sales machines have been set up. As many as 2,700 vendors have gone on Unified Payment Interface applications. Between 300 to 400 camps were held. So far, six or seven banks are acting on it. We intend bank numbers to double," he said.