With the advent of plastic money, e-banking, Paytm, cryptocurrency, and other digitised methods of payment, can India become a cashless economy?

With the rise of Digital India Campaign, and the growth of e-commerce in the country, it looks like the future of the Indian currency is moving forward in the digital sphere. However, this is not as easy as it may seem. With problems such as the country having an internet penetration rate of just 27%, as compared to the global average of 67%, only 60% of the country having bank accounts, and with 98% of the economic transactions by volume being done through cash, it is evident that the journey ahead is long and difficult.

Adding on to all this, India is a developing country with a very high poverty rate, as a student from the University of Delhi (DU) points out, “I don’t know what our Government is trying to achieve by Digital India when half the people in this country can’t even afford the internet. There are people suffering all over the country but nothing has been done about that”.

Along with this, cryptocurrency has been virtually banned by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as stated in a circular, prohibiting banks, and financial institutions from rendering all services related to cryptocurrency in 2018. This, in turn, has also led to criticism from many who argue that the RBI has no right to pass this legislation on cryptocurrency, as it is not within the ambit of the Banking Regulation Act, through which the RBI draws most of its power.

In the face of all these statistics and opinions, why is the digitisation of currency even in the conversation? The positives of greater digitisation include paper trails which would make it harder to hide income, and would make finding black money easier, which was also one of the failed objectives of the infamous demonetisation done by the Modi administration. It would save the Government money, with the RBI currently spending INR 2,700 crores in the fiscal year 2018 on just currency issuance and management, it would be easier to conduct international payments, and the entire problem of fake currency would essentially disappear.

One of the arguments put forward against digitisation in India is that India is a majorly agrarian country, with most people depending on rural cooperative banks, most of which might not have an internet connection and the Government would not have the funds to provide it. However, this statement at its base can be proven wrong. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, there are around 94,384 rural banks in India, as of the fiscal year 2017. Assuming all these banks do not have internet service, calculations of the initial cost can be made. Internet service would cost around INR one lakh for the initial licensing and legal admin fees, along with INR three to four lakhs to set up the infrastructure covering one square kilometre of the area around the tower. This leads us to a total cost of INR five lakhs on the highest end of the spectrum. Now, making the assumption that all rural collective banks do not have internet access, multiplying the number of rural banks with the initial cost would amount to around INR 4,719 crores or around USD 655 million. To put this into perspective, the Statue of Unity cost around INR 3,000 crores, and therefore, it is evident that funding this is not out of the reach of the Indian Government.

In this age of globalisation and technological revolution, the world economy and, more importantly for us, the Indian Economy is constantly changing and evolving. While digitisation of currency might be a part of this evolution further down the line, there is a still a long way for this country to go in order to make that possible, with work required in every sphere to even think about fully implementing it.


Feature Image Credits: 

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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Having bid adieu to uniforms, daily lunchboxes, and travelling in school buses, college is when you learn how and where to spend money.

Coming to college is a step towards becoming an adult; but it can be a tough nut to crack when it comes to managing finances. Here are some tips to manage all this, smartly and efficiently:


In all the excitement to go to college all prepared, we do not realise how much money has been spent. When the realisation begins to kick-in, it is best to not have an ambiguous figure in your head; rather, a clear image of how much money is spent on different four major things – clothes, travel, food, and books or other resource material. You can also modify this budget list by adding or removing fields, based on your spending or interests.

Spending Smartly and Saving

Now try and identify expenses which can be moderated. Instead of purchasing books every semester, borrow these from your seniors or even buy them second-hand. This is a smart choice, given that there is a possibility they will have notes, or important points marked.

Instead of buying whatever clothes please your eye, make sure you try them on in the store, so there is no possibility of them being the wrong size, or something you are not comfortable in.

Ishita of Kamala Nehru College (KNC) gave a good tip and said, “I live in Dwarka where ricksha wallahs ask for a lot of money even if you go in the shared ones, I discovered that Ola and Uber cost less and were more convenient.” It is important to try out different routes or transports to rule out the most tedious ones.

Student Discounts and Offers

Today, there are endless online stores, apps, offers and combos that allow you to spend smartly, and save plenty. You only need to become aware of these avenues, for example, waiting for sales to buy clothes. Devyani Arora, a student of KNC, shared, “Many food apps have discounts that can be availed, and there are coupons that reduce the cost further. If you do not have coupons, you can also pay through Amazon Pay or Paytm to get some cashbacks.”

When going out with friends you can look for restaurants offering “1+1” deals. Arora went on to add, “Using online portals or payment through credit cards can also help get points for you to redeem later.”


Feature Image Credits: Skymet Weather


Shivani Dadhwal

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Materialism can either refer to the simple preoccupation with the material world, as opposed to intellectual or spiritual concepts, or to the theory that physical matter is all there is. In today’s world, people are more concerned with what they have instead of who they are which is what materialism stands for.

Materialism can be defined as a dominating sense of desire to pursue wealth and other tangible things that can provide physical comforts that ignores the importance of spiritual values. Researchers define materialism as a value system that is preoccupied with possessions and the social image they project.

Materialism stands in contrast to idealism, which takes spirit, idea, mind, thought, the psychic, and the subjective as its point of departure. Recognition of the primacy of matter implies that it was not created but always existed, that space and time are objectively existing forms of its being, that thought is inseparable from matter that thinks, and that the unity of the world consists in its materiality.

However, materialism is considered to be a part of human nature and thus, it is inseparable from the human self. There is a good side of materialism too. Material objects can be said to play a positive psychological or spiritual role in our lives when more positive ideals are ‘materialised’ in them, and so when buying and using them daily gives us a chance to get closer to our better selves. When they are contained in physical things, valuable psychological qualities that are otherwise often intermittent in our thoughts and conduct can become more stable and resilient. This is not to say that all consumerism just conveniently turns out to be great. It depends on what a given material object stands for. An object can transubstantiate the very worst sides of human nature – greed, callousness, the desire to triumph – as much as it can the best. So one must be careful not to decry or celebrate all material consumption: we have to ensure that the objects we invest in, and tire ourselves and the planet by making, are those that lend most encouragement to our higher, better natures.

There has long been a correlation observed between materialism, a lack of empathy, engagement with others, and unhappiness. Researches show that as people become more materialistic, their well-being, autonomy, and sense of purpose diminishes. But when they become less materialistic, the same rises. Materialism promotes many other negative feelings as well like lust, selfishness, jealousy, sense of hopelessness, etc. Materialism also blocks one’s inner growth.

Materialism also leads to an increase in anxiety and depression. People also become more competitive and more selfish, have a reduced sense of social responsibility and become less inclined to join in demanding social activities.  However, these are the temporary effects and are only triggered when people are continuously exposed to images of luxury and messages that cast them as consumers in the first place.

There is a two-way relationship between materialism and loneliness: materialism fosters social isolation; isolation fosters materialism. The main reason behind this is that people who cut off themselves from others are the ones who attach themselves to material possessions. Materialism also forces people into comparison with the possession of others. The material pursuit of self-esteem reduces one’s self-esteem.

However, it can be said that too much of materialism is never good.Thus, to prevent the influence of materialism from blocking our inner growth, we need to set ourselves free from the material world, and recognize the real self that lies within us. It is only in this way that individuals can benefit the society.

As quoted by Anthony J. D’Angelo, “The best things in life aren’t things.”

Feature Image Credits: Nicky Cullen

Priya Chauhan

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Mutiple accounts of women dressed in green salwar-kameez, terrorising and exploiting students from across the university have surfaced online in the last couple of days.

The University of Delhi’s (DU) students have become subjects to various disguised scamsters soliciting money from students by terrorising them. A message was shared by a student from Ramjas College which started doing rounds on social media around 26th February, 2019. The message exposed a group of women dressed in green salwar-suit robbing money from the students in North Campus; all in the name of blessing the money with good fortune.

The incident shared by the Ramjas student happened on her way back to the metro station in front of Hansraj Hostel (Kamla Nagar). The student mentioned that first, a woman came to her, dressed as described above. The woman asked the student to give her a rupee or two as she waved a basket at her and claimed that the donated money was to be given at the dargah. The student was followed by the woman who consistently asked for money. After multiple denials by the student, the woman in green reportedly said that she would swear on her Baba that she had no intention to steal her (the student’s) money. The woman insisted that the student’s touching of her money to the basket would yield good fortune.

At this moment, two more women dressed similarly backed the student into a corner and forced her into taking out her money. Anxious and scared, by her own admission, the student took out a ?50 note which was snatched by the three women who pretended to pray for the student, and performed a ritual chant, as if they were blessing the student. Subsequently, the three women snatched a 500 note from her wallet and refused returning the money when asked to do so. Thankfully for the cornered student, another girl passing by observed the problem and came to assist her. However, the three women created an interruption by pushing the other girl away and took off rapidly from the scene. The victim who reported the event was shook after the three women took off.

However in the same message that has been shared by her, the student explores the intensity and terror of the situation. The same gang of scamsters were seen in the vicinity doing similar performances with other chosen vulnerable students. They were spotted around Kirori Mal College, and later near Sudama Tea Stall near Delhi School of Economics. Strangely enough, the attempt to follow the three women to thwart their exploitative targeting of students was reportedly met with obscene curses, ridiculing and insulting her future and family.

After the circulation of the aforementioned account, various students from the North Campus have narrated their own experiences with these women wearing green salwar-kameez. Most of the accounts follow a similar pattern wherein the student, mostly girls, are chosen and cornered by these scamsters who then take off with their money. The possibility of the robbing women carrying weapons has not been corroborated yet but it cannot be ruled out as well. Multiple accounts of North Campus students have exposed the deep concern that this explosive scamming mandates. No action has been taken against the identified thieving women.

However, the dargah women are not exclusive to the North Campus. Various incidents of their terror have been shared by students from Kamala Nehru College. Gargi and Rishita from Kamala Nehru College shared their experience with these women who chased them in Greater Kailash’s M-Block Market, asking for money. When denied, the women hurled abusive curses at the two unsuspecting girls. This rampant exploitation of students in the university at the hands of these women concerns us all. The fearless violations carried out by them in such active areas, in broad daylight, propose questions on the safety of students in the campus.

DU Beat appeals to everyone to stay safe and vigilant in campus until these disguised terror-inspiring women are tried legally.

Feature Image Credits: Akarsh Mathur for DU Beat

Kartik Chauhan

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No one likes asking their parents again and again for extra pocket money (especially when it is followed by your father and mother giving you judging looks). So why not earn a little bit on the side?

Read on to know about some simple ways you can earn money, while attending college!

  • Do a part-time job: There are a lot of options where you can work as a part-time employee and get paid well. Check if your time table allows you to work for four-five hours at a stretch and apply to a few places near your college/home that have the job for you. This is not only just good for the money, but also the experience will teach you a few things about corporate jobs and be a bonus point on your CV.
  • Sell your previous semester books: There is a very good chance that the bookstore you got your last semester books from will accept them and pay you half the price. There are many bookstores in the Kamla Nagar market and the Patel Chest area in North Campus that you can go to for queries.
  • Teach young students: You can home tutor young students and you can either teach them subjects like math, science, English or you can teach creative skills like playing an instrument, painting, creative writing or dancing. Ask your friends and family to help you reach out to some kids aged between 10-16 years and spend two to three days a week with them and you’ll have a fun experience!
  • Walk dogs for your neighbours: Who doesn’t like soft, furry animals? People in your locality who have dogs would probably not have time to take them out on walks and for playtime and would certainly be willing to pay someone to do it for them. If you’re a dog lover and would want a daily 20 minute time with a fluff-ball, then start asking your neighbours already!

Yes, now you can splurge a little too much on junk food, clothes and gadgets!  

Featured image credits: FilmEdge.net

Anagha Rakta
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In the past three years Delhi University has undergone such radical changes that now one does not bat an eye when the university announces another one of its “reforms”. The news of the hike in fees of almost all the colleges has remained unmentioned. Where the raise in amount is not much in Colleges like Daulat Ram, Miranda House and Hindu, it’s quite considerable in others like SRCC, St Stephen’s, Kirori Mal, LSR and Ramjas.

Yearly fee structure of Shri Ram College of Commerce is a record breaking Rs. 27,000 for third year students and Rs. 26,600 for students of second year. SRCC has always been one of the top paid colleges owing to its air conditioned class rooms but from the last time’s annual fees of Rs. 20,000, a leap of seven thousand is a bit too much. St Stephen’s College, on the other hand, increased its fee by 5 to 7 percent with the effect that a student of Humanities will now have to pay Rs. 22,435 annually as opposed to Rs. 19,925 last year.

The fee hike in Hansraj College is not so drastic in comparison. “There would be a hike but it won’t be more than 10 percent. The hike would be for all the courses except for the Bachelors of Technology (B.Tech) in Electronics,” Hans Raj College principal K.V. Kavatra was quoted saying. A student of B. Com (Hons.) for instance needs to pay Rs. 10,540 instead of last year’s Rs. 9000.

Miranda House, Hindu College and Lady Irvin College have not hiked their fee at all. Where Miranda House charges around Rs. 8000 annually, Hindu still remains one of the most affordable colleges with a fee structure ranging from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 7000. Sri Venkateswara College in South Campus is comparatively cheaper, when compared to LSR and JMC, and a student of Political Science and B. Com (Hons.) has to pay just Rs. 6505 yearly.  With a fee structure of Rs. 5000, Daulat Ram College is one of the most inexpensive colleges of Delhi University.

Reportedly, the university has nothing to do with the fee structure and the hike. The decision lies entirely with the colleges. Quite naturally, the students of colleges like SRCC are not happy. “We don’t have teacher assigned for some of the very basic subjects! There are ad-hoc teachers but we are not satisfied with any of them and we have to pay extra for that?!” said a second year student.

Image courtesy: www.frontiertreksindia.com

For most of us, the first thing which comes to our mind in planning our four year stay in the capital is the budget. Even for those who already reside here, college is a huge turning point. What pesters us are the daily expenses because that is something within our domain. Since our parents are usually unaware of the daily requirements of a college student, we feel responsible for keeping our “pocket money” enough to sustain us and at the same time not act as a burden on our parents. Here is a quick look at how much college life and not education can cost you at Delhi University:

To begin with we must make our peace with the fact that studying out is expensive even if comfort isn’t our first priority. Most of the outstation students prefer privately owned PGs and hostels for that give them more freedom as also comfort. In North Campus, finding a high end PG which provides all the imaginable services is easy if you are ready to shell out 14000 to 20000 monthly. If you want to save up on this front then college hostels and even private PGs are available which will cost you maximum 10000 per month.

Travel and coaching classes
For students, travelling expenses are inevitable. Thanks to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited, you don’t need to spend an unreasonable amount for making a daily trip to your coaching centers or just “hanging out” with friends in cafes or movies, although I can’t promise you how much either movies or cafes or coaching centers might charge you. All you need is a metro card which is much more convenient than buying a token every time you travel, a 10% discount is an added benefit. Bus fares are fair with something between Rs. 5 -15 for Non-AC and Rs. 10-25 for an AC ride. One can also opt for an all route DTC pass that costs Rs. 100 for Non-A/C travel with student concession. For an all route A/C  DTC pass, you might have to shell out Rs. 1000. (Also see: Delhi University Colleges Metro routes)

Talking about coaching classes, some of the “elite” centers do charge exorbitantly but then they are “necessary evil” and you’ll rather want to pay more now than repent later.

Food in either north or south campus is not an issue at all. College takes more than half of your day and naturally you can’t starve in that duration. There are uncountable food joints in and around the college campus which are not only delicious but also cheap. Bhel puri walas and Maggi stalls can be found in abundance, with the college canteen always being an option. If you care more about health then you can rely on fruits and juices as well.

On an average, with everything included you can expect to spend something between Rs. 100- 200 per day. If thinking about these expenses sends a chill down your spine, let me assure you that it’s not as bad as it sounds and you can always cut down on unnecessary expenditure. What you must care about now is enjoying these golden four years even if that means exceeding a little on your budget.

Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net

5. Let the shopaholic in you take control. Waltz into random malls and buy everything you see!



4. Remember the nasty shopkeeper who refused to bargain when you were broke? Stomp right past his shop and buy two of whatever it was you wanted from the shop beside it.shop 2


3. Take out your loaded wallet every time a hot girl/guy walks by and loudly say “If only I had a girl/boyfriend to splurge all this money on…”


2. Convert all the money into chillar, fill your bath tub with them and have a money-bath like that demented duck in some cartoon show


1.  If you still have money left, spare some thought for your kind brother who made this all possible. Buy him the weirdest and most useless thing you can find!


-Kriti Budhiraja

In his first innings as a politician, Dr Manmohan Singh liberated our economy. In his second, as prime minister, he brought about a paradigm shift in … our foreign policy… Our guess, and wish, is that he now does to our higher education what he did to our economy and foreign policy in 1991 and 2008, respectively.

–         Shekhar Gupta

Indeed, the signals being sent out by Kapil Sibal, however vague, make an unmistakable case for the extension of neoliberalism into the sphere of higher education. In this vein, the HRD Ministry has proposed alternatives that would allow for greater ‘freedom’ and ‘autonomy’.

However, much like the economic reforms of 1991 and the paradigm shift in foreign policy reaffirmed by the nuclear deal, such promises aren’t exactly benevolent commitments to freedom. Instead, as Kavita Krishnan points out, phrases such as ‘autonomy’ and ‘freedom’ are essentially neoliberal euphemisms for freeing the state from its responsibility to provide for higher education, which is now proposed to be tied to the diktats of the market.

While it may be too soon to be sure of its specific consequences, it wouldn’t be ill-founded to fear that market forces are proposed to have an upper-hand in deciding syllabi and funding research, which could lead to the systematic marginalization of the social sciences. Further, if education turns into a money-making enterprise, it may become highly inaccessible to a large number of people. Moreover, lack of government interference in the selection process of faculty and students could possibly mean an attempt to thwart the reservation policy, which is of absolute importance given our sociological context.

Indeed, the need of the hour is to do a serious re-assessment of the situation of education in India, while keeping in mind the specificities of our context. While change is certainly imperative, quick-fix infiltration of private capital is not the most promising solution.  Instead, it would be useful for us to consider problems relating to access to education, quality and content, the domination of English as the academic language, etc in a more nuanced and sensitive manner.

At this juncture, it is upon the students and teachers’ movements to make sure that the future of education is not jeopardized by crass attempts at commercialization, even as the neoliberal discourse is attractively pitched along the lines of freedom and diversity.

Devika Dutt

One morning, as soon as I opened my newspaper, I was overwhelmed by the barrage of various, seemingly unrelated advertisements of diamond jewellery, mobile phones, ipods, cards, chocolates etc. A closer examination revealed a common link; all of them suggested “special gifts” for sisters on Raksha Bandhan. I immediately sprung into action. One look at the “special gifts” served as the impetus I needed to expedite the Rakhee mailing process, which I had otherwise completely forgotten. God bless the Festival industry!

As is evident nowadays, most festivals have been completely commercialized. Love or hate the fact, you certainly cannot ignore it. It makes perfect business sense as well. We Indians like to celebrate almost everything, from birthdays of a few hundred gods to familial ties, from homecoming   from exile to the evil hag dying in the fire instead of the innocent hero. All these celebrations generally entail huge amounts of expenditure on gifts and other rituals. So it was only a matter of time before entrepreneurs saw a promising new market in Indian celebrations. And they have capitalized, in every sense of the word, on our tendency to celebrate. Take raksha bandhan for example. Apart from the gifts mentioned above, other bizarre things like gold rakhis also take over the market before raksha bandhan.

Firms have also capitalized on the fact that convenience sells. So there are also several quick ways of sending gifts all over the world. So, while about a decade ago, brothers had to go visit sisters on rakhi to celebrate raksha bandhan, now a click of the mouse or the dialing of a number can do it. Various services give consumers the choice of sending gifts, both conventional and off- beat, anywhere in the world. Gifts include traditional puja thalis, candles on diwali, traditional mithai, flowers, electronic gadgets and packages like spa treatments. This has obviously worked as people find it difficult to visit other cities on every festival.

Certain capitalist enterprises have also single handedly introduced non- religious, international observances like Mothers’ Day and have completely established those times of the year as good times for business. This way, they have capitalized on the globalized Indian, who wouldn’t mind adopting a more western holiday.  As most of these holidays are dedicated to a person, it gives us an extra opportunity of telling how much that person means to us. Who would mind telling their father that he is special and loved on Fathers’ Day. Of course it isn’t just restricted to telling him that. They can be accompanied by all kind of presents- wacky, thoughtful, self made, expensive, useful- but all of them are likely to fill the coffers of the people who in a way brought these holidays to India. And the most amazing part is that internationally, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Friendship Day, Daughters’ Day etc have no particular date associated with it. So it is, in a way, decided by gift shops as to when these days are. Like Mothers’ Day is celebrated in India on the second Sunday of May, it is celebrated in Norway in February, in April in Nepal and so on.

So gift shop chains have completely established themselves, spread their tentacles all over the country and gripped India tightly so as to earn maximum revenue by capitalizing on human emotions. After all, it’s just good business!