Are India’s Universities Going Cashless?

Jan 11, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

With accountability the increasing imperative for the world’s universities, India’s University Grants Commission+ (UGC) has set forth an innovative plan to boost transparency throughout the grant process. The organization will require that all universities make cashless transactions moving forward. Here’s a closer look at the proposal, based on a recent report from The Times of India.

A Move Toward Transparency

While the current system relied on demand drafts, the UGC suggests that switching to cashless methods, including bank transfers, credit/debit cards, and checks, will improve the process across critical accountability, transparency and seamlessness measures.

This latest news followed an announcement by the UGC earlier this year allowing for the release of financial assistance exclusively to universities and colleges registered with the Public Financial Management System (PFMS). Nearly all payments are now made cashless through the PFMS, thereby decreasing interactions between UGC employees and stakeholders and ensuring that funds are delivered as scheduled to beneficiary institutions.

Universities Weigh In

According to the Times of India, the proposal has not only been met with support from the approximate 600 universities under the UGC, but is well-aligned with a move toward cashless dispersals of grant funding already underway at many of India’s universities.

The UGC has also requested that all of India’s higher education sector also join in a campaign to launch awareness about the benefits of going digital with both students and retailers throughout the country. Outside of campuses, meanwhile, shop owners will receive assistance from National Service Scheme (NSS) and National Cadet Corps (NCC) volunteers in making the switch to all-digital transactions.

In an address to state universities as reported by the Hindustan Times, UGC secretary Jaspal Sandhu explained, “Participation in the campaign by youths studying in higher educational institutions is relevant because they would be the main beneficiaries of a digital economy that is free of corruption, black money and is completely transparent and just.”

Read more about business studies in India.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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