Public offices accepting only cash payments causing inconveniences to people

From paying your car parking fees to instantly sending money to friends and relatives, all this has become so much easier thanks to technology. Mobile and internet banking in the country has come a long way; cash is rarely seen anymore. But do all public offices and service providers in the country have mobile banking? And what are the inconveniences faced in these places?

Tiny enough to fit into your pocket. This is what mobile banking is. As per the RMA’s Annual Payment System Report of 2021, nearly 190,000 new users subscribed to mobile banking apps in 2021 alone.

The total subscription to mobile banking apps was almost 395,000 active users that year, an increase of 179 per cent compared to the previous year. This increase in subscriptions powered the increase in the number of transactions.

While mobile banking is gaining popularity even in rural communities, there are service providers in government agencies who still do not have an option to make payments through mobile banking.

The Department of Civil Registration and Census is one such office that still accepts only cash for its services. Although many come with cash in the department’s revenue counter, a few scramble away in search of the ATM.

Many people said it is a hassle trying to find an ATM to withdraw cash. The office doesn’t have an ATM since the old machine installed at the entrance gate was removed.

“I came here to make my CID card. The office here only accepts cash. They don’t accept MBOB and MPAY. I didn’t bring cash myself and people don’t have cash either. Finally, I got it from a taxi driver and I transferred him the money through MBOB,” said Dechen Wangmo.

“These days, everyone uses Mbob and it has made everything easier because we don’t have to pay cash. But sometimes when we go visit offices without carrying any cash and when the office doesn’t accept Mbob, it becomes very inconvenient,” said Bhakta Chettri.

Similarly, the RSTA has 15 services of which five are offline and require you to physically go to the office, and payments have to be made with cash.

But the office says this is set to change from next month.

“Recently the RSTA has been allotted with the current account, the CD account to operate. So, starting August 1st, we will be implementing direct mobile banking for people who come for physical services at the RSTA offices,” said Sithar Dorji, Chief Transport Officer.

Under the Digital Drukyul Flagship Programme, the Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) is working toward providing a third option for people to make payments while availing public services.

They are working on a component called the integrated citizen’s services which will incorporate online transactions for an office’s service. The DITT says improving the payment ecosystem is a priority under the current civil service reform.

Sonam Penjor the Chief ICT Officer of DITT said the department in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office and the concerned agencies providing the services, has identified ten commonly availed services.

“Number one is vehicle services, number two is permit services, likewise we have death registration, birth registration and we have PF and GIS services. So the whole objective is to make those 10 services end to end online. When we say end to end online, it means that the payment component should also be made available online,” added Chief ICT Officer.

Using mobile phones for financial transactions has made life easier and more convenient. It has become more of a lifestyle that has helped boost the financial ecosystem effortlessly.

And while that has happened, it is only wise and necessary for the service providers to go hand in hand.

Samten Dolkar

Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen

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