demonetization

With the latest demonetization measure by Prime Minister, Modi, suddenly we are all either sitting on currency that needs to be exchanged or with low cash. There is a minor sense of panic you feel as you suddenly start counting the 100s, 50s, 20s that you may have tucked away in a drawer or even start peeping into your children’s piggy banks.

Immediately after the move was announced I had to travel and I wanted to have at least a few hundreds for any emergency. Yes, plastic money is accepted pretty much at almost all places in Bangalore but there are still times when you need cash. Anyhow, my son had a few hundreds in his wallet. God bless him! Saved me a trip to the stressed out ATMs.

After exactly 8 days, I ventured out to the nearest ATM close to my house and this was a queue that I encountered. The ATM was anyway almost out of cash, I was told. Across the street, an ICICI branch looked deserted because both the ATM and branch had run out of cash. The situation left me in despair. I decided to try again the next day.

demonetization

Instead of going to an ATM, the husband and I queued outside a bank branch the next day. This time things were more organized. Yes, we took about 2 hours but managed to deposit our few old notes and withdraw some money as well. This would come in handy to help out my maid as well as some other people who were low on money. Despite the long queue, people are quite well behaved. In fact, we were helping each out out. There was banter among strangers and the bank staff was doing a fine job. It made me feel good to see how well we were coping with the situation.

I know my experience is very limited. I live in a city where my milk guy delivers through an App that I pay for with Paytm. My kirana store guy bills me monthly and accepts credit card. So mostly my cash outlay is only when I have to pay salaries to the helpers at home and to the neighbourhood ironing guy and other stray cash purchases. Groceries, medicines, fruits, petrol – I can buy everything with plastic money. Even more so since the demonetization.

Is the move good or bad? Well, I am no economist. But I’ve long hated how people who refuse to pay taxes and some of them are really moneyed splash their ill begotten wealth. Why should they be allowed to get away when every penny that I make is taxed? Why should honesty be an exception and not a rule? I know sounds very idealistic but why not.

Yes, I understand that not all black money is stored as cash. I am sure land dealings and gold buying is also being keenly looked into. Yes, we still have a largely cash-driven economy. In the smaller towns and villages where banking is still sporadic even more so. Hence, the measure has wreaked havoc on some who have had to suffer to exchange their money and withdraw their cash. The implementation should have been better planned but then hindsight is always 20-20.

Yet, we cannot deny that it is a very bold move. At least a politician has dared to do more than just make noises. Yes, it has caused inconvenience and sure I wish it were better planned. Two weeks later and we still don’t have the much-needed new 500s in the market. I think if we all focus on how to facilitate things for others, help each other out and help the move, it will make things better for everyone.

I will give you an example. The other day, I had to pay my monthly bill at my kirana store. As I was waiting for him to swipe the card, a foreigner girl came to buy something from the shop. Her bill came to Rs. 200+ and she did not have hundreds so she handed him an old 500 Rupee note. He said he could not accept that. She was Iranian and did not know what to do. So he offered to take that 500 rupee note. I commended him on his gesture. He shrugged it off saying that he anyway has to queue to exchange his notes. How will she manage in a foreign country? He had to help her out. A good lesson for all of us.

I believe that this move in the longer run will work out better for the country. It is a first step in our battle to weed our corruption. A lot more needs to be done but at least a firm beginning has been made. Only time will tell how exactly this move will pan out.

Meanwhile, I discovered that Money View App has come up with Find an ATM with cash near you feature.

Just download the App (or update it for current users) and you will see a notification which when pressed will take you to your location (works for all over India) and show you the list of all banks and ATMs near you and their activity in the past few days.

Really very useful given the current times. Next time for sure, when I am heading out to the ATM, I will first check which ones have cash using this App.So how has demonetization impacted your life? Are you in its favour?

Featured Image courtesy: Kunal Mehta at Shutterstock.

 

Comments

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37 Thoughts on “Demonetization and I

  1. Like you, most of my purchases can be done through plastic money. We only withdrew to pay the maid and the cook. Haven’t had to go to the bank yet as the 2 or 3 500s we had was exchanged in the petrol pumps. As you said, it is a bold move and a move that I welcome. Of course, in a country like ours, it is silly to expect implementation to be completely smooth but I’m still amazed at how people are taking this in their stride. I like the spirit that we have shown, makes me happy about the change in my country. Yes, there are a lot of things to be done because even now the corrupt exist. My cousin is getting married this week and when she wanted to pay via cheque the vendors demanded the tax money from her. The fight is at so many levels and we cannot expect the PM to come and police everyone. There are inconveniences and there will be for a few more days to come but at least those who have black money will now be inconvenienced. They deserve to be so. At least someone has dared to start the fight instead of doing nothing. And like you I applaud that.
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted…#MommyTalks | Do You Believe In The Evil Eye?My Profile

    • Yes, I’ve heard that too. Some caterers etc. are demanding tax money along with the usual payment. Don’t know how fair that is but yes that arm twisting is happening. The fight is at many levels as you rightly pointed out. Hence this one step cannot be a panacea. It is a start though. Hopefully, other measures will follow. In the meanwhile, this is our reality. We must think of how to make it better for all of us.
      Rachna recently posted…Demonetization and IMy Profile

  2. It’s quite commendable when small shop owners and even milk vendors step up and manage things so well. So many lessons we can learn from them. I agree that the implementation should have been done better.

    I needed to send 900/= to Gy’s school for an upcoming event and we were told not to send 2000/= notes. What to do? I had to call up another parent and offer to pay for both kids and she offered to deposit the money in my account. So that’s squared off but am back to having low cash amounts at home. Something needs to be done soon to address the requirements of the masses. The new 500/= notes need to be released soon. Here’s hoping.

    You already know my views on the demonetisation scene thanks to my blog 🙂
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  3. The best part about demonetization is it has brought out the economist in us. Everyone is spouting gyaan on cash, GDP and how economic growth will be impacted.

    My take – wait and watch.
    Purba Ray recently posted…How Demonetization Gave Direction To My LifeMy Profile

  4. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. While I appreciate the move and strongly support it, I do hope that the government takes all necessary measures to ensure a smooth and easy transition to cashless economy. Hopefully, with the implementation of GST next year, tax structures will be simplified for businesses. As for black money, well. Just this demonetization alone will not give people a conscience! Sometimes, I feel Indians don’t deserve a PM like Modi.
    Kaddu recently posted…An Honoured Chef! Day 3 #100HappyDaysMy Profile

    • I don’t think cashless economy is happening any time soon, Chicky. Of course, things are moving towards it. Yes, I think more measures will work in tandem with demonetization to help curb both corruption and black money.

      I completely agree with you that just demonetization is not enough. Systems are still the same. People are still as scrupulous. Hence more will need to be done. But at least a beginning is made.
      Rachna recently posted…Demonetization and IMy Profile

  5. Well, I have said all I could have said about demonetization on my two blogs 🙂

    But I will simply share here my own experience at the bank (and that of some of my family members in other parts of the country) which has been quite positive, even though some waiting period was involved. But that was because we had to go to the bank just a day after the banks were reopened after the decision was announced. We were also able to figure out a way to help an organisation which ran into some difficulties.

    Also, I am not much impressed with all this ‘bad implementation’ kind of criticism because frankly the whole secrecy was a much important aspect of the move without which the move would have been an utter failure to begin with. Also, which scheme or idea of such a gigantic proportion has ever been well implemented or planned?

    Finally, this is what I have really learned about my country from this whole episode –

    Seven quick things we have learned about India in the past few days:
    1. There is plenty of goodwill and cooperating spirit among Indian masses.
    2. There is no shortage of creative on-the-spot-thinking necessary to work through immediate and temporary problems.
    3. There is a great desire among the majority of Indians (regardless of class, caste, creed) to make things better for all Indians.
    4. There is an easy willingness to sacrifice short-term convenience for a long-term gain, if the cause feels right and fair.
    5. There is a bubbling energy and dynamism among the majority of Indians that when channelised in the right direction is the nation’s biggest resource.
    6. There is a uniquely Indian way of doing things which though may take a bit of time but is very effective in revealing the hypocrisy of those who had created a false image of themselves as champions of this or that cause.
    7. There is no shortage of economists in the country.
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…Show Me the Money!My Profile

    • Beloo, I appreciate your long comment. I think it is important to recognize that people experience inconvenience differently. And no one has a right to tell another what they must or must not feel.

      It is also important to understand that we may support the move but may find flaws with how it has been implemented. Yes, secrecy was important. But 15 days after the announcement we still do not have lower denomination currency notes, calibration of ATMs, still cash out at ATMs and banks. Yes, we are all doing our best to adjust but it does not mean that it has not caused inconvenience. How can we even begin to speak on behalf of the rural people and the poor especially in smaller towns?
      Rachna recently posted…Demonetization and IMy Profile

      • Exactly, because we can not even begin to speak on behalf of the rural people and those in smaller towns, we shouldn’t. But in almost all of the criticism I have seen so far there is this all-knowing sense of what isn’t working for others, despite having no first-hand experience or knowledge about these.

        I am not at all making light of inconvenience faced by others. I am just saying that at this critical moment in our nation’s history, any thing that helps spread more panic isn’t in the larger interest. Already there are problems and by spreading more bad news we can’t really be helping. That’s all. But I fully understand this is my way of thinking and I am not speaking for anyone else. Since your post is titled, Demonetisation and I, my comment is posted in that spirit 🙂

        By the way, I should also add that I live in a rural area myself, outside of a smaller town, and my bank is a rural branch. And I did speak with a few villagers with whom I have a connection and helped in whatever little way I can. So my perspective is not that of a big city at all 🙂
        Beloo Mehra recently posted…Citizen Responsibility: Invoking the SacredMy Profile

        • Spreading panic is not desirable but muzzling our voices or feeling discomfort is not being against the country. I do not like how that is the deduction being made. If we cannot tolerate any criticism then pray how should we improve?

          Yes, you may live in a rural area and one rural area. Despite your experience, you can’t speak for everyone and neither can I. I have only narrated first-hand what I saw and experienced. It is common sense that if a city like Bangalore with thousands of ATMs and bank branches is struggling to cope then a small town/village with just a smattering of them will find it harder. It is simple correlation.

          While you are free to talk about what you feel, I am simply saying that you cannot surmise on behalf of all of us. Implementation is quite chaotic.
          Rachna recently posted…Grateful This NovemberMy Profile

  6. City folks have almost no impact, I rarely used cash anyway… except for paying to domestic help and small expenses like buying a cup of tea on the nearby stall. It is the folks in middle India the Unbanked, who have no idea what to do.
    Just go 20 KM outside Bangalurooo and see how it is impacting people
    Good idea, bad implementation…. anybody not accepting that is living in a bubble

    • Exactly! And I don’t want to assume how things work out for them. Even our own helpers are facing real issues. My domestic help has a bank account but she can’t deposit or withdraw money from ATM because she can’t read/write languages. Now how we she operate an ATM machine? So she queues up for her PO account. There are many such real struggles that we may not be aware of. Like you said, if we believe all is well then we surely live in a bubble.
      Rachna recently posted…Demonetization and IMy Profile

  7. Fortunately I did not have any trouble. Life in a metro is easy with debit cards, apps and many ATMs. Time will tell if the effort was worth the pain. As of now looks like a good move but we are in for a long haul.

    • True, Alka. Fingers crossed that it works out well in the end. It was certainly a good move but has turned quite chaotic in the way it was rolled out. We are still insulated. Not sure how the less privileged are handling it.
      Rachna recently posted…Demonetization and IMy Profile

  8. And we expect energy and resources to be spent on removing the bottlenecks in implementation, not on propaganda via apps and survey…
    Prasad Np recently posted…Celebrating Naropa Festival LehMy Profile

  9. ‘Plastic money’ is helping, but still not as widely as cash is. So, yes there are some struggles; apparently only maids and other domestic help on TV Enjoy being paid via PayTM – we still have to give them cash.

    Here’s to hoping things all sort themselves out soon.
    Sid recently posted…‘Amma’ MiaMy Profile

  10. Well said. I think it is good move overall
    Shrinidhi Hande recently posted…Revv vs Zoomcar- Honda city for a day-experience comparisonMy Profile

  11. Demonetization has certainly changed the way we shop. It is nice that plastic money is getting accepted at more outlets. I had to shop before I left for my long trip and it was amusing that because of network issues I spent 15 minutes at a shop to pay Rs 165 by card rather than part with the cash in my wallet.
    It seems like a good move though the implementation could have been better.
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  12. 🙂 I think the middle class folks are hit the most. Ironically just the day before the announcement we drew money from the ATM as we needed cash for daily expenses and also, someone paid Sury’s travel reimbursement in cash–so we were stuck with some notes. I budget, plan and shop via plastic, so that wasn’t a big deal. Our market is now full of street vendors sporting the PAYTM accepted sign.

    My heart goes out to the elderly who stand in queues and suffer. Too bad the planning fell short, with ATMs running out of cash and now, two 500 rupee notes circulating as they claim they were in a hurry. I saw the 2000 rupee note for the first time yesterday. 🙂
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  13. 🙂 I think the middle class folks are hit the most. Ironically just the day before the announcement we drew money from the ATM as we needed cash for daily expenses and also, someone paid Sury’s travel reimbursement in cash–so we were stuck with some notes. I budget, plan and shop via plastic, so that wasn’t a big deal. Our market is now full of street vendors sporting the PAYTM accepted sign.

    My heart goes out to the elderly who stand in queues and suffer. Too bad the planning fell short, with ATMs running out of cash and now, two 500 rupee notes circulating as they claim they were in a hurry. I saw the 2000 rupee note for the first time yesterday. 🙂
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Dear Mom, Did You Read The Label? #readthelabelMy Profile

    • Yes, my neighborhood kirana store is getting PayTM. A lot many vendors are looking for these options which is good. Yes, the elderly and three uneducated who really do not know much suffer. Of course we try to help out with information. Now l am waiting to get new 500s.

  14. I support this decision, my experience is almost same as yours only the difference is i did not need much money so i did not have to wait in a queue.
    Jyotirmoy Sarkar recently posted…Mathematics Applied to Action SceneMy Profile

  15. Very Interesting fact for every indian all indian first time feel that this is very nice decision for black money

  16. Yogi Saraswat on November 26, 2016 at 2:37 pm said:

    I will give you an example. The other day, I had to pay my monthly bill at my kirana store. As I was waiting for him to swipe the card, a foreigner girl came to buy something from the shop. Her bill came to Rs. 200+ and she did not have hundreds so she handed him an old 500 Rupee note. He said he could not accept that. She was Iranian and did not know what to do. So he offered to take that 500 rupee note. I commended him on his gesture. He shrugged it off saying that he anyway has to queue to exchange his notes. How will she manage in a foreign country? He had to help her out. A good lesson for all of us. Completely agree with you that many people are facing problems but for a great cause we have to bear something.

  17. The implementation could have been much much better – it’s the daily wage earners who have been hardest hit and some have tried to commit suicide as they have no money to feed their family. They don’t have cards or checks – they are bank-less.

    I know of a bank officer who died of heartache because people created nuisance in his branch (lack of cash). If this is what Mr Modi calls inconvenience then he got it very wrong there!
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  18. Yeah. Only time will tell how it pans out. It’s a definite push to move the society to a more cashless world where accounting and monitoring is built in.My maid got her salary account and I started crediting her salary directly. Today she’s definitely more insulated by the cash crisis. Haven tried the ATMs near you app. Will definitely check it out.

    • Yes, it is a good push in the direction of a cashless society. My maid has a bank account but she wants to be paid in cash. She is not very adept at using her ATM card.

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