Will our hardships end in the next two days?

Dara Gopi

Dara Gopi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to end the hardships of the demonetization by December 30. The deadline set by Modi to end the sufferings is fast approaching but there are no signs of relief.

People have been standing in queues at the banks and ATMs for all these days to get their money withdrawn or exchanged. The rural India has been ignored and victimized as there are neither banks nor ATMs for them to exchange their hard earned money. They don’t even have the bank accounts.

In a country where more than 80 per cent people are illiterate and more than 75 per cent of the nation has no access to the banks, the government had brought in a cashless system dreaming high on digital India. The present dispensation took the people for a ride by withdrawing the high denomination currency notes. While there is not much resistance for the demonetization, there is uproar all over as the government had failed to take alternative arrangements.

The middle class, seen mostly in the social media, is happy as its basic needs can be met with digital access. The credit/debit cards and other online transactions are at their finger tips. They also have access to the digital market like malls and restaurants. The rich and influential have managed to get their old notes exchanged without standing in queues at banks and ATMs. Some of them have even secured the new Rs 2000 notes in bundles directly from the banks. The way hundreds of crores of new currency notes are caught exposes the financial nexus that the rulers have with the rich and influential.

But the issue is with the large number of people and the rural India where this digital technology is unavailable. The rural masses, who live mostly on their daily wages, depend on cash transactions. Farmers, farm labourers and small traders too depend on cash transactions, not on banks. Their hard earned money is in their pockets and certainly not in the lockers or under the beds or concealed in the bedroom walls. They don’t even have any links with the counterfeit currency or that of the notes used by the terrorists as claimed by the government. Such innocent people are put to several hardships. The rural economy, which had helped the country to survive two global recessions, is now victimized and facing an unprecedented crisis

The traders are not able to procure grocery items and vegetables and sell to the people. The farmers could not buy fertilizers nor  could they sell their produce. They are forced to stock their produce in the godowns as there are no cash-rich buyers.

The urban poor and the lower middle classes are made to stand four to five hours a day at the banks and ATMs to get just a Rs 2000 note. Even after successful withdrawal of this big note, they are not able to buy the family requirements as there is no change for the pink note. The banks run out of cash and the ATMs remain closed.

The nation had suffered enough as a big percentage of its business is lost. More than 100 people died standing in the queues for their money at the banks and ATMs.

The much-talked about black money had not come to the banks. Ironically, the new pink notes are going black in large quantity. The terror-sponsored counterfeit notes had not disappeared. The nation is not yet geared up for the cashless economy or digital money as 85 per cent of its citizens have no access to it. However, the banks have gone cashless and the ATMs remain shut. Nevertheless, people keep standing in queues with a glimmer of hope. Those who don’t have money in banks are roaming around cashless.

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