In what is speculated to be a major assault on black money, fake currency, and corruption, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on national television at 8 pm on November 8 and announced that from midnight of that day (12 AM, November 9, 2016), Rs 1,000 and 500 currency notes will be demonetized.
He said the notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 “will not be legal tender from midnight tonight” and these will be “just worthless piece of paper.” He also said people holding notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 can deposit the same in their bank and post office accounts from November 10 till December 30.
While social media erupted as soon as his announcements came out with scores of netizens praising Prime Minister’s move as “surgical strike”, numerous other people are bearing the brunt of the immediate consequences of one of Modi’s boldest moves.
Shiv Sunny, a journalist with The Hindu has recorded the statements of a few of these people — not the savvy netizens like us — who are facing the subsequent consequences of demonetization. The journalist has shared their stories on his Twitter handle.
There is a prevailing public anxiety in the entire country following the demonetization. In yet another heart-wrenching incident, a three-year-old girl was found raped and badly injured in Phulwaria in Begusarai district of Bihar. However, the victim’s parents could not take her to the hospital in time because the ambulance driver of the referred hospital allegedly refused to accept currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, thus leading to a three-hour delay in her reaching the place.There is also a massive confusion going on, as the message of the government is not reaching clearly to the people in the villages. After hearing about the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, a 55-year-old lady farmer committed suicide. In utter confusion, the lady hanged herself after she thought that her money has become a piece of paper and has no value now.
People planning and preparing for weddings are also facing hard consequences owing to demonetization. A Chennai man, who wanted the bank to grant him more than Rs 4,000 for his friend’s daughter’s wedding, was denied the amount by the concerned authority. He had even carried the wedding card as proof but to no avail. With the approaching wedding season, many people have withdrawn large quantities of high-value currency notes from banks and are saving them at home for wedding expenditures. But with the new move, all these weddings are on the verge of getting cancelled.
PM Modi said in his speech that hospitals and petrol pumps will be accepting the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. But with the hike in demand for Rs 100 notes, even hospitals and petrol pumps are facing the dearth of currency of lower denominations. Besides, in the last two days, a system of malpractice has sprung up all across the country where a lot of people are taking advantage of the situation by exchanging Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes with the change of lower values like Rs 400 or Rs 800. Today, many ATMs across the country have been closed as they don’t have money to dispense. People are in dire need and there doesn’t seem to be solution for them.
Only time can tell us how effective PM Narendra Modi’s move in curbing black money and fake currency turns out to be. But the immediate effects are depicting a contrasting picture before us.
The Logical Indian requests the government that they create as much awareness as possible and reach out to every single citizen of the country. There are areas in our country where people don’t have access to internet, electricity and it is very hard for people to be aware of the information in such a short notice. Many living in urban areas, who are illiterate and have migrated, don’t have documents to open bank accounts (Only 28%-32% of Indians have access to financial institutions, including post offices and bank). It is important to understand how they will survive in these tough times. We request the government to look into it and create alternative arrangements for them.