In a nod to the Prime Minister’s dream of making India a cashless society, all defence canteens across the country will go cashless and will accept only digital transactions. The move is being seen as a major boost to the growing digitalisation across the country. The aim is to make India a cashless society. The defence canteens are India’s most profitable retail store chain, albeit owned by the government, and is the third-largest in terms of volume and number of outlets.
Sources confirmed to Mail Today that,” The Canteen Stores Department or CSD and all the unit run canteens under it have been asked by the services to turn cashless from March 1 as they will sell goods only using plastic money.” Plastic money is the blanket term applied to all debit card and credit card transactions which are the gateways to digital transactions.
Digital India Dream Across Armed Forces
Government sources and defence ministry officials have confirmed that there will be no trouble adjusting to the new and simplified system as all military personnel receive their salaries in their respective bank accounts and they have already been issued debit cards by their respective banks some time ago. This is one step closer towards enabling our forcesto undergo the digital transformation.
A few facts about the CSD. This chain of retail stores are owned solely by the Government of India Enterprise under Ministry of Defence and has its depot in all major military bases operated by the Indian Armed Forces. Almost 1.2 crore direct customers in form of serving and retired personnel along with their families partake of its services and it the entire network had a turnover of over Rs 13,000 crore last year. The army had already issued orders were issued by the adjutant general’s branch to canteens that they have to turn fully cashless from March 1 and the local formations have been asked to spread the message among the serving and retired personnel, the sources said. The local formations have issued advisories to the retired personnel that they should arrange credit or debit cards by March 1 as the canteens are turning cashless, the sources said. This is in sync with the stated Digital India dream as propounded by the government and especially the Prime Minister.
The army had already issued orders from the adjutant general’s branch to all canteens that they needed to turn fully cashless from March 1. All local formations were asked to advise all serving and retired personnel about the change that was on the cards. The local formations, in turn,have issued advisories to all retired personnel that they should arrange credit or debit cards in order to avail the plastic money option by March 1 as the canteens are turning cashless.
The CSD, remember, is the most profitable retail chain in India and is ahead of comparable civilian giants likeFuture Group & Reliance Retail, as mentioned in this report. They sell a wide variety of products like household provisions, kitchen appliances, alcoholic drinks, cars, and sports equipment to the lakhs of serving and retired personnel cutting across service lines. The business model of the Canteen Stores Department has been evolving to be more business friendly and economically viable.