Ayodhya is experiencing a digital rejuvenation and a technological leap


Ayodhya – the birthplace of Lord Ram and the site of deep spiritual significance for the Bhartiya Civilisation is experiencing a digital rejuvenation and a technological leap. Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the majestic Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir in the city, it has heralded its step into a new era of development.

Ayodhya is already in the middle of an infrastructure resurgence – the city is being developed as a Spiritual Centre, Global Tourism Hub, and a sustainable Smart City. An upcoming Greenfield township is also being planned in the city which will include lodging facilities for devotees, space for Ashrams, Maths, Hotels, Bhavans of various states. A tourist facilitation centre, and a world-class museum will also be built. Special attention is being devoted to the development of infrastructure around the Saryu River and its ghats. Cruise operation on the Saryu River will also be made a regular feature[1]. The PM has described Ayodhya as a city that is etched in the cultural consciousness of every Indian. Ayodhya should manifest the finest of our traditions and the best of our developmental transformations. At the same time, the moment to catapult Ayodhya into the next stage of progress is now. The city is becoming the point where traditions meet technological advancements, where the spiritual meets digital progress.

Rise of digital transactions in Ayodhya
The city, today, has become a huge construction site. Roads are being widened and several infrastructure projects, including multilayer car parks, are under construction, temples are being renovated and the ghats on the Saryu River are being better. This metamorphosis has sparked a surge in economic activities, awakening what was once a serene town. From the boatmen navigating the Saryu River to the vendors selling flowers and prasad at Hanuman Garhi, the landscape is witnessing a rapid shift toward digital payments. “Digital payments have made my life easy as there is no running around for cash change. The money goes directly into my son’s bank account via UPI, which is such a relief for us,” said Annu Manjhi, one of the 100-odd boatmen at the bank of Saryu River.

The shift towards digital transactions is palpable across Ayodhya. Shri Ramdhan Yadav, a shopkeeper selling puja items along the riverbanks, seamlessly accepts payments via QR codes, making transactions smoother for both vendors and customers. He remembers one day when a customer gave a ₹100 note for the puja items. “Kindly pay online as I don’t have change,” said the shopkeeper told him pointing to the QR code. The customer complied and left the shop with smile on his face.

Even at Kanak Bhawan during the evening aarti, donations are effortlessly made through QR codes at the counters, streamlining the process for devotees. At the Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir, contributions up to ₹2,000 can be made physically, but anything beyond requires online payment, facilitated seamlessly through QR codes.

According to Mohd Rashid Khan, 40, who lives in Sadar Bazar area in Ayodhya Cantt, UPI has instilled in him a new confidence. “Cash handling was a headache as finding chutta (small change) was always a problem while buying daily stuff that needed small currency. Now with digital payments, that headache is gone and money reaches instantly and safely in my bank account,” said Khan, one of the beneficiaries of the government schemes.

INDIA’s push towards digital economy
This shift towards digital payments aligns with the Government’s Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra (VBSY), aimed at promoting awareness about flagship central schemes like Ayushman Bharat, Ujjwala Yojana, PM Surkasha Bima, PM SVANidhi, among others. The push to digital transactions also aligns with the Government’s vision of a ‘Digital India’.

Digital payments have significantly increased in recent years, as a result of coordinated efforts of the Government with all stakeholders. Union Minister of State for Finance Dr Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad has stated that the total digital payment transactions volume increased from 2,071 crore in Financial Year 2017-18 to 13,462 crore in FY 2022-23 at a compound annual growth rate of 45%. In the current FY – from April 01, 2023, till December 26, 2023, – there have been a total of 12,020 Crore digital transactions. More than 14.92 lakh BHIM Aadhaar Pay POS have been deployed in the country till July 26, 2023. Over 33.69 crore physical and mobile POS have been deployed till July 26. According to a DD News report, there have been digital transactions worth more than ₹7,000 crore. Digital transactions have become the beacon of a new, developed India and as Prime Minister Modi said, “digital money will empower the poor.”

As Ayodhya gears up for the grand opening of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi to the general public on January 23, 2023, the city stands not only infrastructurally but also digitally prepared to welcome pilgrims and tourists from across the globe. The convergence of physical comfort and spiritual solace promises to provide visitors with experiences transcending time, blending spirituality with technological convenience — a testament to Ayodhya’s extraordinary renaissance.

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