Pema Khandu
POS machine being distributed by Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu. Image credit - Northeast Now

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Wednesday distributed Point of Sale (POS) machines to beneficiaries of Chief Minister’s Paryatan Vikas Yojana(CMPVY), especially those running homestays.

The occasion also marked the launch of POS facilities being offered by the only state-owned State Cooperative Apex Bank Ltd to its customers across the state.

CMPVY is a major flagship programme of the Arunachal Pradesh government, implemented by the department of tourism through the AP State Cooperative Apex Bank Ltd.

So far, more than 270 unemployed youths have availed this scheme that provides a subsidy up to Rs 5 lakh to open a restaurant, run a tour operator agency, establish hotels, homestays and purchase adventure equipment.

As the majority of the beneficiaries – about 100 – have availed the scheme to run homestays, POS machines were provided to nine homestay owners and one adventure and sports equipment showroom owner to mark the launch of the facility on Wednesday.

Appreciating Apex Bank for the initiative, Khandu said ease of payment is one of the most sought after facility by tourists coming from far and wide to visit Arunachal Pradesh.

“As tourism is the future of Arunachal Pradesh, the introduction of POS facility in homestays is timely,” said Khandu.

“Tourists, especially from outside the country, hardly carry cash on them. Hence, cashless payment at hotels, homestays, and transportation through credit or debit cards is of utmost importance,” Khandu added.

Giving an example of foreign countries where there is no cash transaction for services availed, he said the facility not only serves the purpose of accounting for the service provider but also eases the customer of finding an ATM booth at odd hours and places.

Khandu congratulated the homestay owners and advised them to be friendly with their visitors and maintain top-notch hygiene in their properties.

Assuring the government’s hand-holding in the growth of their business, he informed that the Taj Group through its sister organization – Ama Trails and Stays – has agreed in principle to help Arunachal Pradesh in establishment and growth of homestays.

He said representatives of the Taj Group are expected to visit soon and suggested a meeting with them along with progressive Home Stay owners of the state to chalk out a way forward.

“Since government jobs are limited, not all youths can fit into it. The only option is self-employment and tourism is one of the best choices. In this sector sky is the limit for a state like ours,” he said.

Khandu, meanwhile, urged the Apex Bank to take into its fold various other state government flagship programs for implementation like the CMPVY.

He asked the bank authorities to come up with a proposal for the same so that the government could include it in the upcoming state budget.

Suggesting that the POS facility be made mandatory for all hotels in the state, he asked the bank to think and propose a way forward for the same.

Meanwhile, Apex Bank administrator Habung Lampung informed that the POS facility has been introduced by the bank following requests from tour operators and homestay owners.

The investment made by the bank in procuring and disbursing the POS facility will be recovered in two and a half years, Lampung informed.

He further informed that the bank had deployed Mobile ATM vans and Micro ATM during festivals.

Reportedly, about 400 tourists availed the facility during the festivals resulting in the transaction of about Rs 15 lakh.

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