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Digitising the debt

Asian Age 2019-09-11 01:05:00
 Arjun Aggarwal

In a society ridden with the practice of credit, a Gurugram youngster is making lives easy with a new app for shopkeepers.

For people in India, buying groceries from their local stores on udhaar is one of the most common practices. But, for the shopkeepers, keeping track of the pending amount of money can be a difficult and tedious task. But what if that issue could be solved with a click?

12th-grade student, Arjun Aggarwal, had the same thought and created a mobile app called Udhaar Khaata to help out small shopkeepers, vendors, and kiosk owners. The app allows shopkeepers to manage the credit that they give to customers, and allows shopkeepers to remind customers of the amount due from them. Available on Google Playstore, the application has already been downloaded more than 8,900 times and is only 15Mb in size.

‘‘India has more than 12 million small shops. Most of these shops give goods worth around Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 to customers on credit per month. This app will help to manage customers credit, leading to substantial recovery of potential losses/delays of payment for shopkeepers,’’ says the Gurugram youngster.

A computer science student, Arjun believes that technology has the potential for helping people at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. He stumbled upon the idea to create this app on one of his shopping trips to his local grocery store. “I had forgotten to get cash once, when I went shopping. The shopkeeper told me to take the stuff and pay later. But, then he also started telling me about how he was not able to pay his suppliers on time because a substantial part of his revenue was tied up in the form of credit lent to customers,” recalls Arjun.

Before he created the app, Arjun conducted interviews of more than 50 shopkeepers in three cities, which revealed that they needed a solution that gave them the same ease of adding a new customer and transaction of writing in a notebook. What makes Arjun’s app different from other lending  apps is that it is in both Hindi and English. The app’s interface is made compact and easy to use, keeping in mind the target users — small shopkeepers. He believes that simple solutions to everyday problems can have a large impact and can improve the lives of many. People from not only Delhi but also other places like Chandigarh, Lucknow, Dehradun, Kanpur, Nepal and Pakistan have logged into this platform.