(This article was first published in The Economic Times.)
After demonetisation, low wage earners and domestic staff like cooks, drivers, watchmen and cleaners are facing problems as most of them are migrants from towns and villages and don’t have bank accounts. Saurin Parikh explains how you can help them adapt to the cashless, digital system.
Open a Jan-Dhan account
The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was launched two years ago and allows anyone to open a bank account with zero-balance facility, accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh, debit card and access to credit, insurance and pension. “The account holder can have a safe repository for their savings.
Understanding financial products and learning how to use them will build confidence in transacting digitally,” says Parag Mathur, General Counsel and Head of Compliance at BankBazaar.com. You can help your domestic helpers open an account at one of the designated banks with the help of an Aadhaar card, if they have one. If not, a valid ID proof like PAN, driving licence, MGNREGS card, voter ID or a passport will be required.
Get valid ID proof
An ID proof will be integral to a cashless economy as one can’t even open a bank account without one. If the low-wage earner does not have an Aadhaar card, you can help them get enrolled for it by taking an online appointment on the UIDAI website and helping them choose the nearest Aadhaar enrolment centre.
Use e-wallets to transact
E-wallets like Paytm, Freecharge and Mobikwik have been cashing in on demonetisation, with small businesses like sweet shops, ironing and cigarette kiosks in cities starting to accept payments through Paytm. You can help your domestic staff to use these e-wallets for small transactions like mobile recharges and utility bill payments. You can also inform them about changes in demonetisation rules as and when they take place.
Save for emergencies
Saving is critical for the low-income group, especially in case of emergencies like medical needs or the one created by demonetisation. Most low wage earners live from payday to pay-day, which is why the money saved every month could prove extremely useful. You can help them by depositing a portion of their salaries in the bank or with you, which they can access in case of an eventuality.
Invest in small instruments
Investments like stocks and mutual funds might be too complicated for low-wage earners, but they can invest in simpler avenues like post office recurring deposits or bank fixed deposits. You can help them understand the basics of these investments and set up accounts with the respective entities. “Even money in banks will earn an interest for them,” says Vivek Rege, Founder & CEO of V R Wealth Advisors.
They can also contribute to the Pradhan Mantri Atal Pension Yojana, which has been designed to provide income security for those working in the unorganised sector.