Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for demonetisation has changed many things for a lot of people in the country. One of them being the way payments are being done in tea gardens of Assam.
Right since the Britishers introduced tea plantation in Assam and brought the Adivasi tea garden workers from Chota Nagpur plateau, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh to Assam, they have been paid in cash. A bank account is still a distant dream for them.
With demonetisation, Assam government decided to bring over 15 lakh tea garden workers in 850 tea gardens under financial inclusion through PM Modi’s pet project Jan Dhan Yojna.
Initially, this decision had created a panic-like situation in the tea gardens as many of these labourers have never even been to a bank, forget operating an ATM card. Moreover, while tea gardens are in remote locations, hardly 10 per cent of the total gardens in Assam have any banks in their vicinity.
To handle this situation, United Bank of India has launched Mobile Mini ATM to cater to areas like isolated tea gardens. These mobile mini ATMs are a smaller version of our regular ATMs, mounted in a vehicle and linked through 4G terminals.
In Assam, five such vehicles are going to tea gardens to make weekly or fortnightly payments and have been an instant hit among the workers.