In 1985, perhaps the best year in his term, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi made a startling statement. Addressing young bureaucrats, he said only about 15 per cent of every rupee, that is 15 paise of every single rupee, spent for the poor actually reached the poor and the rest disappeared in a mysterious swamp somewhere in-between. He said, he reached this conclusion based on historical and existing evaluations and estimates given to him by officials in the field. His assertion became one of the oft-quoted postulations in India's governance debate ever since.
India primarily has been a cash economy and less than 5 per cent consumption expenditure besides house rentals etc is through electronic instruments. Since we are 95 per cent cash, we use 4-times as much as cash as other market, be it Brazil, Mexico or South Africa. From the cards perspective, the government has done an incredible job of making sure that either the debit or a credit card is linked to a citizen in one way or the other.