Note ban: A month on, no end to cash misery
A month after the demonetisation decision, people across the country are still struggling to lay hands on cash, adversely affecting their monthly payments and businesses.
Despite the regular ‘assurances’ on there being cash in the system, harried citizens are not really taking them very seriously.
The main reason behind these hardships, according to people are the dysfunctional ATMs that continue to remain dry even a month after the government scrapped notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 on November 8.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is appealing to everyone to adopt cashless methods to make small or big deals. Going by this, why do we need so many ATMs across the country? Uproot them. These are not useful anyway. These ATMs have gone cashless,” said an irked Kalpesh Jain, a cloth trader in suburban Ghatkopar in Mumbai fumed.
Even on Thursday morning, and people across the nation were seen queueing up outside banks and ATMs to meet their monthly payments. Many were upset about banks also refusing payments to customers due to cash shortage.
Angry relatives of a woman blocked a busy road in Punjab’s industrial city of Ludhiana on Thursday after she died after being pushed by a bank security guard. The victim, Asha Rani, aged around 50 years, who was a resident of a locality on Tibba road, was allegedly pushed by a security guard of the Punjab National Bank on the Shingar Cinema road here.
Retailers and kirana stores have complained of declining sales and the situation has only worsened instead of becoming better with no clue yet when it will be business as usual. While the impact has been particularly harsh on street vendors, small retailers, where cash is the sole mode of transaction, too felt the heat. Most of them complained that their daily turnover has shrunk by a third.
However, the situation is a tad better for those who are into the business of essential products.
In Bengal, sectors like jute, tea and leather – that make a significant contribution to state GDP –have been affected a lot.
Opposition leaders on Thursday observed a ‘Black Day’ in Parliament premises to mark one month of the announcement of demonetisation, with Rahul Gandhi launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his “foolish decision” has “devastated” the country.
Leading the protest, Gandhi accused Modi of shying away from having a discussion on the issue in Parliament, but stressed that opposition parties will “not let him run away” from both Houses, where “everything will become clear” once the Prime Minister takes part in debate. Speaking to reporters in Parliament premises, he said the Prime Minister is “having nice time” and has over the past one month “changed his narrative” on the issue while people are reeling under hardships.
Besides Congress, leaders of all opposition parties including TMC, CPI(M), CPI, JD(U), Samajwadi Party joined the protest wearing black band on their arms. “The Prime Minister took this so-called bold decision.
Accusing Rahul Gandhi of levelling baseless allegations against the government to grab headlines, BJP on Thursday dared him to speak on demonetization in Parliament.
Attacking the Congress Vice President, the ruling party said on the one hand he claims to speak about the interests of the common man but on the other hand Congress was stalling Parliament for three weeks and wasting public money spent on running it.