India’s cash chaos

Last week on the night of November 08, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi dropped the bomb on black marketers announcing the ban of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 note from the very next day. As the announcement was made late evening, many people could not reach the ATM to withdraw money. Modi made an exception that the notes can be used at fuel stations, government hospitals and government run stores till Nov 11 which was later increased till Nov 24.

Since the life-changing announcement has been made, the decision has become a raging debate among people and on television channels. The move to tackle corruption and black money has received both appreciations from the public and ire from politicians too.

Though the step was taken in the interest of the larger public good, the implementation had large loopholes due to which people have been suffering vastly. The black money holders aren’t being as much affected as the general public who earns honestly but has to compromise with their work in order to wait at the ATM and bank lines to get their money exchanged.

People standing in long queues

The government says that fuel stations will accept old currency; however, motorists across the country are perturbed as fuel stations too have fallen short of change and thus are refusing two wheeler customers to refill the tank.

Daily wage labourers in Delhi have gone hungry for four days due to crash crunch. Hundreds of poor across the country are suffering in hunger and our Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley says that payment should be made through cheques, plastic money and online transaction systems. It is disappointing to know that Mr. Jaitley hardly knows that a labourer and rural class has hardly access to such privileged systems because they are busy working to make both their ends meet which at times aren’t met. Perhaps Mr. Jaitley should come out of his cocoon and meet the lower class daily wage labourers who teach their children how to sleep hungry, let alone have plastic money.

It’s been a miserable time for the farmers who have to sow the seeds but they instead are waiting outside banks to get their money change. They are struggling with lack of cash and so the cultivation operations are being affected. The government should allow farmers to purchase seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and other inputs in kind from primary agricultural credit societies or district cooperative banks using the demonetised notes. These outlets can accept the old notes against their Kisan credit cards or agricultural pattadar passbooks. If not done so, the grain prices will surge drastically

While common man is struggling to put on with their everyday expenditure, there are some who are lavishly spending on functions without being afraid of any investigation.

While someone like Janardhan Reddy has lavishly spent Rupees 500 crore in his daughter’s marriage, the government wants that a middle-class person marries off the child in just Rupees 2.5 lakhs which is impossible looking at the rise in expenses. Moreover, the money declared is only being given only at some places; at many other bank branches, the ground level reality is different. People are approaching the bank with wedding card but they are not being given more than Rupees 2,000 because the bank does not have the cash to distribute among everyone waiting in the queue.

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It’s strange that no inquiry is being made of Reddy’s bank balance and others like him who have lavish amount lying out in the Swiss bank but the government is more concerned to perturb a common man who doesn’t even get the fair amount of his labour. Is it the demonetization of a common man?

The lack in implementation is no longer an inconvenience problem; it has turned into a crime now. It’s been 11 days and 55 people have died across the country because of demonetization. While at some places, newborns have left the world before opening their eyes because hospitals refused to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, at other places elderly have collapsed while standing for hours in the queue outside banks and ATMs. How can the government justify death in the name of greater good? Dying while waiting in the queue is also not something to be proud of. Like soldiers, these people won’t be declared martyrs because they died for nation’s good. Is the government ready to take the moral responsibility for this mass murder?

When the infrastructure wasn’t ready, what was the need to rush? We anyway waited for years, we could have waited more but at least the government should have taken out a properly planned policy.

Mr. Modi announces to take off Rupees 500 and Rupees 1000 notes from the market and banks in exchange are giving Rupees 2000 note which is all the more difficult to get them changed. The government should have introduced the new Rs 500 note first which would at least decrease the problem of change. Two days before, the cash slots in 22,000 ATMs have been changed. If the plan was to be executed, why wasn’t this work done earlier? There are lakhs of ATMs across the country, at least the slots of 50, 000 of them should be changed earlier.

The demonetization to curb black money and fake currency is a contradiction of Prime Minister’s own statement. As he agreed that black money is spread through larger denomination currency, then what will Rs 2,000 note do? It is a much larger currency then the previous one.

A middle-class person like me isn’t facing many problems because I have access to plastic money, cheques and online payment system but wholesale markets, farmers, labourers and poor are the ones who are majorly affected by the decision. Sitting in the comfort of my home, I can conveniently advice people to go digital and not panic because black marketers deserve demonetization but the fact is that instead of black marketers it’s the common man who is struggling to get his own money back and on top of that, at times even being rebuked by the frustrating bank employees. It’s not their mistake for their working day and night for the public but it’s not even the mistake of the person waiting for hours.

The government wanted to hunt crocodiles, so the pond was dried up. No crocodile was found for it can live on land too but the small fish died to pay the price. But everything is fair in the name of patriotism!

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