Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cashless Payments for Simhastha Kumbh Mela - Nashik-Trimbakeshwar 2015. Who will bell the cat?



          The most awaited event in India in the next 6 months amongst is the Simhastha Kumbh Mela - Nashik-Trimbakeshwar 2015

          Preparations for this mega event started few years ago.

          This is expected to the biggest gathering of mankind in a pop-up city. Lakhs of people will gather to soak in the ambience of Simhastha Kumbh Mela - Nashik-Trimbakeshwar 2015.

          The last KM was held in Allahabad in 2013 and also made it to Harvard Case Study.

          To make a major difference to the pilgrims visiting Simhastha Kumbh Mela - Nashik-Trimbakeshwar 2015, a group of Nashikites led by MIT Media Lab are working at multiple levels.

          The organisation created for this purpose is KF27 (Kumbha Foundation 2027).

          The organisation has organised four innovation camps so far:-

  1. KumbhaThon 1, Jan 2014
  2. KumbhaThon 2, July 2014
  3. KumbhaThon 3, Aug 2014
  4. KumbhaThon 4, Jan 2015
Brief introduction of Kumbha Team

The focus area of  Kumbha.Org now is areas in health, transportation, payments, food, civic issues, housing and so on.

Please refer ProblemA2 of this document for the “cashless concept”

Benefits of ‘Cashless payments’ in Simhastha Kumbh Mela - Nashik-Trimbakeshwar 2015

a)    Small value cash transactions can be digitised
b)    Minimise the friction between pilgrims and service providers over coins issues.
c)    Introduce ‘Cashless payments’ to a large numbers of countrymen at the same time.
d)    Introduce Safe eTransactions culture to visitors.
e)    Advance the idea of ‘Digital India’.
f)    Enable Electronic Payment companies to experiment with new concepts.

The heart of any cashless payment is net connectivity as the transactions between the seller and the buyer should be real-time.

Challenges in ‘Cashless payments’ @ Simhastha Kumbh Mela - Nashik-Trimbakeshwar 2015

01) Net connectivity. There should be real time communication between the seller/buyer/payment integrator.


02)                  The Payment Integrator will be facing both the sellers and buyers and not the net connectivity providers i.e telcos. Communication failures will be directly attributed to PI and not to telcos.


03)                  The Simhastha Kumbh Mela - Nashik-Trimbakeshwar 2015 will coincide with the rainy seasons in Nasik, which would put pressure on net connectivity.


04)                  Physical cash movement. Buyers still will use physical cash to top up the Electronic Wallets. The sellers will still need physical cash to buy inventory. 


05)                  The sellers would not be willing to transact electronically for fear of revealing their actual turnover to government authorities/peers/family.


06)                  The average ticket size of the transaction would range from INR10/- to INR200/-. However the volumes would be heavy which can compensate for the low value transactions.


07)                  Food Langars will not encourage sale of food items.


08)               The main merchandise for sale will be flowers, pooja items, toys for children, mobile top-ups, clothes etc.


09)                  Apart from physical items on sale, professionals will offer their services too for sale. The services offered will be Special Poojas, astrological advices, donations to Godmen etc. It would be a major challenge to motivate these 
professionals to accept their fees in electronic mode instead of physical cash.

10) The complete electronic transaction between the buyer and the seller should 
be over in 15 seconds. Any delay beyond 15 seconds will lead to the transaction being abandoned and also discouraging other similar transactions.