With less than a week to go for her daughter Kavya’s marriage, Swapan Nath of Jadavpur, Kolkata, seems a desolate figure in front of a city ATM outlet. With the sudden announcement of demonetisation by the central government, it seems the sky has fallen on the veteran government clerk’s head.
“A daughter’s marriage is still the biggest challenge for a father. We prepared for the big day for months and withdrew cash of rupees two lakhs for emergency payments, only to realise most of that money isn’t legal tender anymore,” said the helpless father.
Whether a fair drive to eradicate black money or not, the Centre’s decision to ban the higher-denomination currency notes has put a lot of marriage hopefuls in the same boat. The marriage season in India is in full bloom but with most of the old cash wiped off from people’s hands and limited options for withdrawals, couples are finding it tedious to be united in wedlock.
For young and independent couples like Payel, a professor of Mathematics at IIT-Ranchi, and Mrinal Jana, an Assistant Professor at Dehradun, the plans for a lavish marriage ceremony has taken a hit amid the present cash crisis. With just a few days to go for their marriage, a lot of preparations were left to be done. But instead, Payel and Mrinal were forced to spend a considerable amount of time at banks to get their cash exchanged.
“My dad had to queue up in front of a local bank to first deposit the old cash and then withdraw the necessary amount. There was confusion even among the bankers about the upper limit of cash withdrawal. The government had initially permitted withdrawal of 24 thousand rupees a week, but that is next to nothing for marriage preparations,” Payel complained.
To balance out the present cash crisis, the government then gave some relief for farmers and families celebrating weddings. In a statement, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said: “For wedding ceremonies, up to Rs 2.5 lakh can be withdrawn from the bank account by the KYC-complaint customers.”