Currency ban: Woes of common men

Shopkeeper with ban plate

New Delhi, November 10: In a bid to strike out black money, Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday suddenly banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and wiped out Rs 15 lakh crore from the economy. The Indians became cashless all of a sudden. Is India ready to be a cashless economy?

From media experts to economists, everyone is busy listing the probable causes behind the sudden currency denomination being enforced by the government. Calculations are being done to run out cost of the entire currency scrapping and if the outcome would ever be black money exemption for the Indian economy. Is the decision politically motivated? Can India where 80 % of the rural population is not connected to banks ready to become a cashless economy?

Setting these significant issues aside, WEFORNEWS is just trying to have a look at the common problems being faced by common men of this country.

Although Prime Minister highlighted that hospitals would accept the old currency notes till the new currency is in circulation, he forgot to make note of thousands of people who visit national capital from far, distant cities for the right treatment to premium institutions like All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The tales of people in the waiting lines is all of despair and lost hope.

Take for instance, a farm labourer who travelled 80 km with his mother for treating his 10 year old suffering from blood cancer. They carried 5,000 rupees and the next day their money turned into a scrapped bundle of piece.

“We are facing major problems. Auto-rickshaw drivers and hotels are not accepting 500 rupee notes and that is all I have. It’s been such a struggle to feed my family, and my son will have to sleep on the pavement tonight.”

rikshaw puller

Now look at the plight of a rikshaw puller in old Delhi. With Rs 500 in his hand, all he has anger and disappointment in his eyes.

“What will I do? I don’t have any identity card or even a bank account. It’s my hard-earned money. You tell me how I can prove that this is not black money.”

India is primarily a cash economy and daily-wage labourers do not possess formal identification or bank accounts. How can government fix the situation with this ban.

After walking in shops in Delhi, all we could report that most shops had literally no customers the entire day. With ATMs blocked, the cashless customer is least expected to make a purchase.

In fact many of the shop keepers were worried as they fear of losing a large share of pie from those who accept cards. One of the shopkeepers whined, “we accept only cash, now what to do with this cash.”

 

small traders

Echoing the tone of people of the city, a small Jewellery shop owner said: Our business is mainly during the wedding season, which starts in a few days. But now how are people going to buy gold and silver? They can only convert 4,000 rupees a day and that’s not enough when you have a wedding to fund.

He added: I pay all my taxes but still deal in cash. Now I am left with thousands of rupees worth of valueless notes. What am I going to do with them? Even if I change 4,000 rupees a day every day, it will take me months to convert all my money. I am educated and know what to do, but imagine the plight of a vegetable seller or milkman?”

Talking to the tourists in Delhi, all we found that they were surprised how the government had treated its nationals in the world’s largest economy. One of the Tourists said the fiscal move had left her at a loss.

“This is India and anything can happen but this is not fair. The government should have thought about tourists. I have 5,000 rupees and I am leaving India this evening. I don’t know what to do with my money. It’s frustrating.”

We are not sure if black money could be wiped out with the current move, but the distress, chaos and panic among the countrymen is absolutely there to stay for some time.

Read More:

It’s been tough for small traders since demonetisation

Currency ban causes panic during marriage season

Wefornews Bureau

(with inputs from media reports)

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