DEMONETISATION: FROM THE EYES OF A COMMON MAN

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 and is filed under News Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

 

US Moinuddin, Author, Environmentalist, Educationist, Motivational Speaker

BANGALORE (MT NEWS):  When the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi dropped a bomb on the unsuspecting citizens of India, that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would be scrapped, followed by restrictions in the banks to withdraw the cash. There was utter chaos across the nation, and a panic attack prevailed in the society. Dreadful long queues to deposit the 500 and 1000 Rupee notes which they had in their custody, and a “quest” to withdraw money for their day-to-day expenses from their banks, became a nightmare of every citizen. To make the matters worse, the situation was terrible across the ATMs, where every individual was forced to withdraw only Rs 2000 per day, in a matter of a few hours, the ATMs would run out of cash. Withdrawing money from the Banks and ATMs became a regular job to many people. The situation was much more horrible in the towns, villages and the outskirts of cities, where there were just a handful of ATMs.

When people began to withdraw cash from the Banks, the staff politely offered them Rs 2000 notes with just a few 100, 50 and 20 rupee bank notes. Getting change for the 2000 rupee notes became a bigger nightmare. The condition in the rural areas was still worse. Long queues to withdraw the amount from a handful of ATMs, made life difficult and complicated for the common man.

Over the weeks there were reports of people dying, either out of exhaustion as a result of standing in long queues or out of shock due to the limited availability of the new notes to purchase groceries and other goods for their daughter’s marriage.  Tales of hospitals refusing to accept old currencies created a sense of insecurity among the people.  A newborn baby died in Rajasthan’s Pali district after an ambulance refused to take the child to a hospital as the father couldn’t arrange notes of lesser denominations on time.

During the initial stages of the crisis, I wanted to change the tyres of my car, I called a car tyre dealer on JC Road to know if a particular brand of tyres were available, subsequently, I was also informed by the tyre dealer that they were unwilling to take the old 1000 and 500 rupee notes. The next day, my car tyres were fixed and I scratched my debit card to pay the tyre dealer. But, I was unable to offer tips to the workers who had changed the tyres as the very little change which I used to get with great effort, would be exhausted in no time. In various establishments, a good number of people are also dependent on tips which they receive from the customers to meet their everyday expenses.

Every kind of business is largely affected; vendors and small businessmen dealing with perishable products were seriously hit- where the buyer and seller are in a strange situation. House wives hunting for change to pay vegetable vendors and the milk man became a common scene.

Strange it may seem, people had to make an amazing amount of effort to withdraw their very own money for their day-to-day expenses. The limit of withdrawal of only Rs. 50,000 per week, through the Current account, proved to be terrifying for many businessmen, who often have to receive and pay cash. Subsequently, the limit of withdrawal became Rs. 100,00O Per week from the Current account and 4500 per day through the ATMs but the ceiling limit was still Rs 24000 per week in the Savings Bank account.

PM Jayaprakash, the Proprietor of Patterns India Private limited, Bangalore said, “We used to pay salaries through cash for our workers. Subsequently, we were forced to pay them through the cheques, this created tiny hurdles as they had to deposit the cheques in the bank and then withdraw limited cash every day.”

A medical store owner complained that it was a terrible experience when customers began to offer Rs 2000 notes for a purchase of medicines worth Rs 60.

Shakuntala, a school teacher working in a popular school said, “I often used to purchase fresh vegetables from the vegetable market near to my house. Due to shortage of change, I was forced to purchase them from a nearby shopping mall, through my debit card. Sadly, the vegetables in the mall were not very fresh, but, I had to compromise.”

Saturdays became a nightmare to many building contractors who have to pay the labourers through cash every Saturday evenings.  Like everything that ends, the impact of demonetisation too will fade with the passing of time.

Was demonetisation really necessary?  Did it really have a positive effect on the masses as desired? The pros and cons of demonetisation is a matter of a national debate, where every Indian will be engrossed –  at least for some time. But, by and large the common man was put to a grave test, which effected the day-to- day functioning of the society.

                                                                                               – US Moinuddin

                                     Author, Environmentalist, Educationist, Motivational Speaker

 

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