November 18th, 2016
A week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic declaration of scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, a large section of the people are finding themselves in a difficult situation without sufficient cash in hand. Thousands are queuing up to enter ATMs and withdraw money. But more than that, the government’s move to curb black money has come at a price of 55 deaths so far. According to one report, it will take four long months to normalise the situation.
Here are some of the instances that show how the situation is turning grievous:
- A child died at Kailash hospital in Bulandshahr, UP, because the parents had only Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, which the hospital denied to take as admission charge.
- A 24-year-old woman from north-east Delhi committed suicide after failing to exchange her notes for three days in a row.
- In Chikballapur district of Karnataka, a 40-year-old woman committed suicide because Rs 15,000 that she had gone to the bank to exchange were stolen. She had hidden the money from her alcoholic husband.
- A young man died of a heart attack while he was watching prime minister Narendra Modi’s speech about demonetisation. The man had received Rs 70 lakh in advance the previous day by selling his land after months of struggle.
- In Vizag, an 18-month-old baby died as the parents didn’t have any money to buy medicines. The private hospital refused to accept notes of Rs 500 or 1,000.
- A 45-year-old man died of a heart attack in Kaimur district of Bihar as he feared his daughter’s would-be in-laws may no longer accept the old currency notes in dowry. He had saved Rs 35,000 for his daughter’s wedding.
- A 55-year-old woman in Mahabubabad district of Telangana committed suicide after someone told her that the amount of Rs 54 lakh she had saved for her husband’s treatment had become worthless.
- A man from Howrah in West Bengal murdered his wife because she had returned home empty handed after not being able to draw money from the ATM.
- A State Bank of India cashier in Bhopal died of a heart attack owing to the heavy pressure of people seeking to exchange old notes.
- A teenage son of a Border Security Force officer in Bulandshahr allegedly committed suicide over not possessing smaller denomination notes on Tuesday, reported PTI.
- A 47-year old farmer, who had to pay for farm labour, died of heart attack while waiting to exchange old currency notes in Tarapur, Gujarat.
- In Pali district of Rajasthan, an ambulance wouldn’t take Champalal Meghwal’s new born to the hospital as he only had ₹500 and 1,000 notes. By the time Meghwal could arrange 100 rupee notes, the child had died.
- Along with all these deaths, many are facing immense woes to cope with the decision of demonetisation. People have been standing in ATM queues all day, and yet returning home empty-handed even after three-four attempts.
- Small vendors and hawkers whose sole income depends on their day’s sales are stranded without any money because people are not approaching to buy products from them.
- Since this is the wedding season in the country, families who have weddings planned are facing the heat of demonetisation, as they are unable to withdraw larger sums of money at one time.
- Hundreds of thousands of trucks have been stranded on the country’s national highways as cash shortage threatens the normal delivery of goods to consumers and businesses. Many of them are stuck at petrol pumps because they are being refused cash payments in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
- A foreign woman at Goa airport was found begging and crying for currency change as she had to pay Rs 1,600 for extra baggage. She also did not have a debit or credit card that worked in India. A gentleman came forward and helped her by giving a Rs 2,000 note, but even then, the airport officials didn’t accept the note because they were not sure whether it can be used or not.
- Over a hundred people were booked for pelting stones and clashing with the employees of a bank in Sujru village in UP over the process of the transaction of currency notes.
- With millions of currency notes being counted every day, the work hours at the banks are tightly strung. There is no time for breaks except a brief lunch hour and the pressure is gruelling. It is the cashiers who are bearing the brunt of this. According to bank rules, if a cashier fails to tally the cash collected with the amount recorded, the balance has to be borne by him or her. Cashiers also have to pay if they fail to detect a fake currency note.
Members of The Logical Indian team volunteering at banks found that these problems, especially in the rural areas are the outcome of misinformation and incomplete information. The message from the Prime Minister did not reach everyone properly. Farmers, small business owners, housewives, all complained that the local newspapers in villages, which are in many remote areas the only source of information, did not cover the news fully and give complete details, which also has caused a lot of confusion. They were unaware of the last dates for transactions, validity of their notes, etc.
For any idea or policy to become a success, there should be proper planning and the information must reach to the people who are going to get affected.