Demonetisation: Crackdown on black money or common man?

(PHOTO: AFP)


The country witnessed the biggest rush for money as thousands queued outside banks and ATMs, stretching out onto the streets throughout the day as the government cracked down on black money. As the step created chaos across the country for the third consecutive day, common people from different walks of life in the national capital shared their grievances with thestatesman.com.

 Taking the nation by surprise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday night declared Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes invalid. The government announced that newly minted Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes were dispensed at ATMs and banks though reports claimed only few cash-dropping machines worked effectively. The step against black money hoarders, however, hit the common man hard as he now struggles for new cash to meet his daily needs. 

“The crackdown on black money is like a crackdown on the common man. The way common people are painfully standing in long queues on the street whole day for few cash is like we are the ones with black money,” said Abhinav, a student of Father Agnel School in Noida.

Another student, from JNU, blamed ‘poor governance’ for handling the matter. “Poor people are facing more problems as half of them don’t know what is going on, they are not accustomed with the bank procedures and they don’t have money to even buy food and basic amenities. There should have been alternative for the lower class section who doesn’t own bank accounts or ID cards.”

Many senior citizens complained of faulty management as they suffer in the never-ending queues and blamed the government over its poor handling of the crisis.

 “I have been standing here since the last four hours. The queue is moving in a snail-pace. My whole body aches and it is shameful there is no special line for senior citizens,” said a distressed Ranjit, retired engineer living in Malviya Nagar area.

Amit, a corporate professional who travels everyday from Lajpat Nagar to Gurgaon, Cyber Hub for work is facing difficulties managing his account as he is running short of cash and time.

 “Although the petrol pumps and hospitals are allowed to take old currencies, they are not being able to as there is shortage of cash,” he said.

Another citizen, a chartered accountant, under anonymity, felt that the objective was good, but the implementation was wrong.

 “The objective is good, but the step is not implemented properly. The government should have thought about the inconveniences for the common man. The implementation is wrong,” he said.

 Shrouded under extreme secrecy, Modi’s ‘Coupe de maitre’ triggered mayhem. While many felt the pain of it and criticized it, many hailed the move, saying it will figuratively scrap the terror funding and corrupted money.

 “In the long run it will gain the common man (when lots of black money will be recovered) but temporarily he will have to face some problem. The government’s policy is nice and should be lauded but the implementation could have been slightly modified so that the common man is not harassed,” read a Facebook post.

Echoing a similar view, an auto-driver Nandu lal said, “It has caused a lot of problem. We are not getting passengers but it is a good step. The trouble would last for only few days. The step is against the filthy rich.  It will be great for the country in the long run”.

Despite facing difficulties in managing her finance and abandoning work for a day as she stands in the serpentine queue, Radha, a maid in a posh locality in South Delhi area expressed satisfaction over the sudden move.

“Koi nahi hum manage kar lenge sirf kuch hi din ka baat hain. (It’s okay I will manage the situation, it is just a matter of time),” said as she grinned like a Cheshire cat.

In the midst of the prevailing hullaboo with some complaining, criticizing and some other lauding the union government’s bold step, the common man pines for a clean India. 

 – BY Snigdha Choudhury