By Armaan Amrohi
An article in short about the overall insight of markets in Delhi post demonetisation.
My next door neighbour had been to Dubai to visit their son on a visa of three months on 21 October. Being an elderly couple all in the society have been in close contact with them. I was surprised to see them on 17th November back home. When enquired as to what happened, they came so early; they said, “After the announcement of Modi regarding demonetisation, we were forced to come back…!” I felt sorry for them as this time both uncle and aunti were much excited to visit their son in Dubai as there had been a new member in the family.
It is not only them who had to curtail their trip, there are many who have been in deep trouble after Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes had been announced to be discontinued as legal tenders from 9 November 2016. Daily news papers since 9/11 are regularly updating us regarding the deaths of people in queues of ATMs. The situation is pathetic and troublesome for the people, with no choice!
All this made me to personally visit few places in Delhi to understand the reality at the ground level. I started my research from the Malls which are mostly crowd bulging. It was really surprising that the crowd was thin. Anyway I went to my choice restaurant where the owner is known to me due to regular visit. He did welcome me but the regular smile was missing. When I enquired for the dull welcome he suddenly busted out, “Saheb, there is a down graph in business, I am not able to fetch the rent of this place in this month”. I really felt sorry for him; still thinking that the eatery business in most promising and profitable, but has really the footfall has fallen so drastically that business has fallen to 85%. This made me to be more inquisitive regarding effects of demonetisation. I walked around the mall talking to many shop keepers in this regard. Not even a single person around the mall had been happy regarding demonetisation, all advocated that there is fall in business. No matter that they have been digitally advanced for sometime now, but low footfall has affected them at large.
This feedback was shocking for me as I had never thought of negative effect of demonetisation. My next destination was Azadpur Mandi–Asia’s biggest vegetable and fruit market–where loaders and porters are normally to be seen busy earning daily bread. This time I saw many sitting ideally. I asked one of them as to what is the effect of demonetisation. It was like I had ignited a bomb, many flocked around me thinking that I am a journalist, in chorus, “Saheb, do joon ke rooti bhi kamana mushkil hai!” (Mister, not able to earn two meals a day also). The rate of unloading a sack of onion was Rs.20 before but in the present times the rate has gone down to Rs. 13 per sack. Avnish a loader, “I used to earn around Rs. 200 per day, but now I am not able to earn even Rs. 100”. When I asked where is the crowd, he said, “Most of the loader have gone back home because of no work, the people are not coming to market”. Rajender Sharma, president of the Federation of Fruit and Vegetable Traders’ Associations, said, “Not just have costs of vegetables fallen, deals have fallen by 20-30 per cent, most clients are purchasing over credit which is a system of this market. Around 80 per cent of my business a month ago has been on credit, but payments have to be made to supplier who is not accepting old currency and the new is nowhere to be seen in bulk to make payments.” Other shopkeepers admitted that because business was down, ancillary work has been affected.
It’s not just wholesale and flea markets like Chandni Chowk, Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar, however demonetisation has soberingly affected Delhi’s world class markets as well. The reasons, be that as it may, are distinctive. The upscale Khan Market–which was recently positioned as the 28th costliest retail market in the world by Cushman and Wakefield–has lost around 50 per cent business since November 9.
Connaught Place in Lutyens‘ Delhi has lost 30-40 per cent deals in one month since Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the declaration. What’s more, South-Ex Market, which has a few extravagance brands, has lost around 20-25 per cent income in a similar time. These figures were accounted for by the individual market associations.Be that as it may, the reason for VVIP card-wielding clients moving in the opposite direction of these shopping edifices is not the same as those referred to behind the incomplete shutdown of Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli and Sadar Bazar. The purpose for this is any purchase above Rs 2 lakh must be joined by outfitting the PAN card, which is likewise imprinted in the bill. This is consequently answered to the Income Tax (IT) division, and on the off chance that IT sleuths discover one’s buys surpassing their enrolled wage, a notice might be sent at his or her doorstep at whatever time.
“On one side, suppliers constrained us to make payments for stock provided before while purchasing power of the shoppers recorded exceptional cuts bringing about tremendous money related misfortunes. The extreme outcomes of the impact have additionally been felt in Khari Baoli–Asia’s largest food and grocery markets–that have seen thin business nowadays,” said Pradeep Gupta, a dealer from Khari Baoli, the biggest dry organic product market of Asia.
Post demonetisation, the money emergency has prompted to a complex ascent in costs of fundamental family unit items amid past one month. With almost Rs 7 per kg increase in the unorganised market and Rs 10 per kg increase in the organised one, wheat prices have seen most escalation amid the period. Prior, a 20-kg acket of wheat was accessible for Rs 260-300 yet now the cost has gone up to Rs 340 in the unorganised market and Rs 350 to Rs 440 in the organised business sectors like Big Bazar, Reliance Fresh and other retail outlets. Costs of mustard oil, refined and different oils are likewise being sold on uplifted costs as discount markets have recorded an expansion of Rs 10-20 per litre. “Prior, mustard oil was accessible for Rs 100 a litre in the discount advertise however after the cash boycott, it has gone up to Rs 120. The same is accessible above Rs 145 in retail shops,” said Dinesh Gupta, a trader from a similar market.
To the extent costs of pulses are concerned, the majority of the things have recorded a climb. The most exceedingly terrible influenced are gram (chana dal) as its cost has shot up to Rs 125 per kg from Rs 85-100 in the wholesale market. A similar item is accessible at the rate of Rs 140-145 in the retail market. Rates of Bengal gram has additionally gone up from Rs 90 a kg to Rs 104 in wholesale markets. “In the midst of the emergency, the price of pulses has shot up. The more terrible is that it will record additionally increase as a few merchants may start hoarding,” said Dinesh Kumar, a dealer from Naya Bazar market. Desperate clients and retailers going to different mandis are likewise having an extreme time as they have been battling hard to meet their requirements. A majority of them have been requesting goods in lesser quantity bringing about lesser market exchanges. A few have even been requesting products on credits from wholesalers also. Correspondingly, a larger part of family units have been looking for sustenance things using a credit card from retailers prompting to the emergency.
The impacts of demonetisation on small traders and manufacturers in the national capital were discussed in a meeting of Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI), wherein agents communicated their apprehensions over the move. Representative from grocery, jewelry, transport, garment, property, and manufacturers raised the issues confronted by them and stretched out recommendations to meet the difficulties of the circumstance set apart by scarcity of usable notes and new banking money rules. The gathering stretched out different proposals to handle the circumstance, including increase in the deposit limit from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh in view of interests of small traders, said Brijesh Goel, national convener of CTI. A few traders likewise recommended withdrawal point of confinement to be upgraded from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 too.
While some proposed expansion of tax exemption limit utmost to Rs 10 lakh and cutting down the most extreme tax rate to 25 per cent, he said.”All the proposals will be talked about in future,” he said. The meeting also accentuated on the need to shield the interests of the traders and manufacturers. The CTI office bearers reported a helpline number for the brokers who require assistance from experts including advocates, contracted bookkeepers and specialists.
While in Chandni Chowk I saw huge lines on ATMs. Police deployed to control the crowd. I was told that the crime rate in Delhi has fallen after demonetisation. I asked the person so demonetisation is the sole reason behind crime rate decline, to which he proudly said, “yes…!” I simply replied then I think the government should conduct this demonetisation on yearly basis to control the crimes. There are many who have habit to connect things to anything. Government has itself paved way for organised crimes by demonetisation. I was also told that police has announced that if the people are spreading rumours on social media they will be punished under section 505 IPC. I am surprised that the same thing is being done by the government on daily basis, what about these? The queues have gone less, people are happy with demonetisation, all the Black Money will be flushed out by demonetisation, opposition is not happy as they did not get time to protect their black money, etc. new flashes by the government.
The government is promoting Cashless Economy but the reality at the grass root level is that most of the petrol pumps on the highways are only dealing in cash, thus tossing away Digitalization—the dream of Modi.
Today the Delhi Pradesh BJP has announced one laddoo per family for their patience on demonetisation. Shame on them for many died in queues for their own money while standing in ATM line and BJP is bragging about success. Height of fooling the masses!
Disclaimer: Views express are Author’s own.