Visakhapatnam will be turned into a 'less cash' city within a year by promoting digital, cashless transactions and the methods adopted here will be replicated elsewhere in the State and the country, according to N. Lokesh, the State IT and Panchayat Raj Minister.

He was speaking here on Wednesday at a function organised to mark the launch of a programme to be implemented jointly by AP Government and Visa in the city to make it a 'less cash' one. He said that in the aftermath of demonetisation digital transactions were being promoted all over the country and especially in AP.

Lokesh said, "The public still prefer cash transactions but we wish to create the infrastructure and eco system required for digital transactions and persuade them to switch over to cashless transactions. First, it will be implemented in all government departments and agencies and the shopkeepers and others will also be persuaded to adopt the digital mode. There will, however, be no compulsion and cash transactions will still take place."

He admitted that there were still many problems to be addressed in the rural areas. “We are confronted with many problems in making digital payments under the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme. But we are overcoming them."

He said there was a need to incentivise the digital transactions till they get general acceptance and “it is also necessary to go digital to check black money.”

Sunali Rohra, representing Visa, said there were many misconceptions regarding digital transactions and they need to be dispelled. Digital transactions can be made cheaper, easier and more transparent than cash transactions, she added.

J.A Chowdary, the special adviser to the CM on IT, and several others spoke on the occasion.