The conversation around demonetisation has quickly shifted from being a black money crackdown to ushering in a cashless economy. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a casual reference to a viral video doing the rounds on social media showing a beggar accepting money on a card machine.
However, according to an Indian Express report, that video, in fact, was a promotional video shot by a tech company, Numero Graphic Creative Solutions Private Limited, as far back as 2013 and put up on Youtube nearly two years ago, way before demonetisation was announced.
Numero Graphic, based in Hyderabad, was looking to make clever videos to market its futuristic data processing technology products, the company's founders told IE.
"It is a promotional video that we made. We gave the beggar that swipe machine to shoot for the video,'' said Kulpreet Kaur, co-founder of Numero Graphic, told Indian Express. "My colleague and I started Numero Uno in March 2013 and wanted to promote our company with creative videos. Haven't we all seen beggars at traffic junctions — how people want to give them something and end up rummaging through their wallets with no small change?"
Kaur added, "Of course, then we had no idea about demonetisation or this push for a cashless economy. We planned to shoot this video on a mobile phone at the Jubilee Hills traffic signal."
In the video, a woman is seen searching her wallet but unable to find a change to give to the beggar, when he pulls out a card swiping machine and urges her to use her card instead. The woman featured in the video is Kaur herself. She and a colleague, had requested an anonymous beggar in Hyderabad's Banjara Hills to act the part. Watch the video here.
"We brought him to the location and gave him a swipe machine," Kaur said. "He did exactly what we told him, and my colleague shot the video on his mobile phone. We started recording when the signal turned red, and it was over before it turned green."