Guess what India is discussing as it queues up for cash?

Some senior citizens who were visibly struggling to stand in the queue were advocating the move, saying the country needs to stop bickering over this short-term trouble.

Written by Kanishka Singh | New Delhi | Updated: November 16, 2016 5:53 pm
demonetisation, demonetisation effects, demonetisation rules, Rs 500 notes ban, Rs 1000 notes ban, Modi, PM Modi, narendra Modi, Modi government, ATMS, Banks, Demonetisation banks, ATM queues, notes exchange, people on demonetisation, NDA, Demonetisation rules, demonetisation news, india news, indian express news These queues are great levellers, no rich, no poor. (File photo)

It’s been a week since the government announced its decision to invalidate high denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000– which accounted for over 80 per cent of the old paper currency in circulation. But the agony for the people continues as they struggle to secure cash to manage their day-to-day expenses. It is as if the whole of India has queued up outside the banks.

At a bank branch in South Delhi, there were at least 60 persons in line even before the bank gate opened at 9:30 am. The queue doubled in length over the next hour as the guards tried to calm down some of the rowdies. As the people pushed and shoved to get in, the bank officials came out and started sending people inside in batches of four to keep the situation under control and manageable for the bank staff.

demonetisation, demonetisation effects, demonetisation rules, Rs 500 notes ban, Rs 1000 notes ban, Modi, PM Modi, narendra Modi, Modi government, ATMS, Banks, Demonetisation banks, ATM queues, notes exchange, people on demonetisation, NDA, Demonetisation rules, demonetisation news, india news, indian express news

These queues are great levellers, no rich, no poor. In line were office-goers lugging their laptop bags and sporting corporates name tags, housewives dragging small kids, other working women, senior citizens, poor labourers, household helps, government officials and even some policemen.

Some arrived with debit cards and without cheque books to learn that the ATMs had crashed, probably of overload. So used the opportunity to ask the bank officials if they had got their money exchanged? “Save my space, I have to go. I’ll come back quickly,” said another to a guy behind him in the queue.

As the wait got longer and tempers frayed, there were some that expressed regret for voting the BJP in. While Modi bashing seemed to be one of the favourite discussion topics, a housewife, holding her child, had a few words for the RBI, “10 mahine se chal raha hai kaam, ye kaisi planning hai? Aam janta hi pareshan hoti hai. RBI kehta hai naye noton ki kami nahi hai? Kaha hai naye note? (The work to demonetise has been on for 10 months, what kind of planning is this? It is only the common person who suffers. RBI says there is no shortage of new notes; where are the new notes?)”

“Madam aapko to koi dikkat nahi hoti hogi cash badalwane mein? Bank walo ne karwa liya kya? Logon ko kyu pareshan kar rahe ho? ATM bhi band hai… Teen din se roz subah yehi haal hai (Ma’am you would not have had any difficulty in changing bank notes? Have the bank officials done it? Why are you troubling the people? ATM is also closed. I have been seeing this for three mornings I have been witnessing the same),” said a government official seemingly in his fifties.

demonetisation, demonetisation effects, demonetisation rules, Rs 500 notes ban, Rs 1000 notes ban, Modi, PM Modi, narendra Modi, Modi government, ATMS, Banks, Demonetisation banks, ATM queues, notes exchange, people on demonetisation, NDA, Demonetisation rules, demonetisation news, india news, indian express news

There were more real concerns too. Amitesh, who works for a large tech firm in Gurgaon, said his work was suffering, but he had no choice. “I work in Gurgaon and I’m late for work. If I am able to get some cash from the bank then things will be a little easier for a few days. I’m down to my last 200 bucks in cash. Even my VP is facing the same issue, so they understand. But for how long can this last.”

Young students living alone have also been stuck badly and are in a serious situation. Sukanya Nagar, a psychology student in Delhi University, who is staying alone in Delhi had a troubling tale to tell. “I can’t pay the Metro fare, auto fare, bus fare, grocer, cafeteria by card. How do I manage? I don’t have a car and it’s not easy. I don’t even have a cheque book to take out cash. My parents deposit cash in my account each month. I have some old 500 notes to exchange, but I have no option but to miss college and stand in line.”

The businessmen in the queues had the option of having their employees stand with them to exchange some of their money. Some of those in the queues were pitching in for their employers. A man in a suit became the object of public ire as he kept returning to the line after relaxing in his car at regular intervals.

Some senior citizens who were visibly struggling to stand in the queue were advocating the move saying the country needs to stop bickering over this short term trouble. An elderly person, touting his wrinkles, was heard advising youngsters: “You would go and stand for hours in a queue to buy concert tickets, Indian Idol or any reality show audition and some other random activity. But it is troubling for you to stand in the bank queue for a few hours. The hoarders of black money have destroyed the country. We can keep a continued effort to bring back the black money from abroad. First we have to stop the generation and hoarding of black money. If you cut the source from generating, it is easier to stop the leakage.”

Despite the murmurs against the government, there was large support for the move and people were willing to bear the troubles. They, however, wished the government had planned it a little more efficiently.

demonetisation, demonetisation effects, demonetisation rules, Rs 500 notes ban, Rs 1000 notes ban, Modi, PM Modi, narendra Modi, Modi government, ATMS, Banks, Demonetisation banks, ATM queues, notes exchange, people on demonetisation, NDA, Demonetisation rules, demonetisation news, india news, indian express news

A young working professional in his late 20s supported the move, but said alternate payment options like e-payments were not ready to handle the extra load and causing trouble to people in critical situations. “My mother’s cancer medicine costs Rs 1,800 per day. We don’t have cash to buy the medicine at medical stores. The problem is the sudden load on bank servers for e-payments and card payments means transactions fail regularly and the chemists refuse to sell the medicine if we don’t pay cash. This is the case for almost all the retail outlets where multiple payment machines crash due to overload on servers. Even ATMs have crashed in multiple locations. Three of us have come to take out money. It’s not easy.”

The new Rs 2,000 notes are only being dispensed at banks as most of the two lakh ATMs have not been recalibrated. The newer Rs 500 notes are also low in circulation. In short supply of Rs 100 notes, several ATMs across the city bear the sign of “ATM closed” or “Out of Order” apart from the regular out of cash signs. This “small inconvenience” might just last some time more.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. O
    Onkar Singh
    Nov 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm
    Modi is living on tax payers'money,so he is least bothered about the hardships of the people.He can go to the level of fielding his mother to exchange notes,and gets his mother to praise him.Natural for a mother whose son is the PM.But she is not a woman of her conscience,when she can't visualize the pain of the poor,hence like her son she is being naive.Equally naive are those who even after seeing people dying in queues,are still praising Modi.Somewhere " sensitivity" is dead.Its a country over to the " ravan sena" of Modi ( the new ravan avatar)of the 21st century.
    Reply
    1. O
      Onkar Singh
      Nov 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm
      Once upon a time this The Indian Express carried the news of the rise of RIL through dubious means,the writers were Are Shourie and S.Gurumurthy,but today if someone wants to contradict a nondescript person's comments in the comments of Indian Express the system is not allowing,i am facing this problem.Will The Indian Express explain this new " Modi" phenomenon,in your comments columns?
      Reply
      1. O
        Onkar Singh
        Nov 16, 2016 at 4:42 pm
        Who is Amrita? Is she some one from the BJP or the RSS? Why are you not allowing me to contradict here view point,Express?
        Reply
        1. E
          Earthkeeper
          Nov 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm
          I wish these people were more aware of what's going on . They have been literally slapped on there faces and being told that this slap is good for you .
          Reply
          1. S
            Subject
            Nov 16, 2016 at 11:27 am
            SCOUNDREL CHANAKYA has clearly written: To save a few brahmin street dogs, an entire nation and its non-brahmin can be killed by a King(Modi). Hey I called your Modiot a king. You should be happy, bhakts!
            Reply
            1. A
              Amrita
              Nov 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm
              I encourage my fellow citizens to watch parliament. It is very educative to watch the RSTV and the key opposition party speak on demonetization. Mr Venkaih Naidu responded well. Im certain that the PM will come back stronger even if everybody thinks that the implementation on the ground could have been planned better. The Congress was not in full strength on the benches and Ms Ambika Soni looked really sleepy. All kinds of allegations were made by the Opposition party against the PM including comparing him to Hitler etc. There was an opposition member showing fake concern on the PM being called names on whatsapp. He obviously missed the significant support for the move and the PM evident on the net.
              Reply
              1. A
                Amrita
                Nov 16, 2016 at 4:04 pm
                Just to set the record straight there are many individuals across India who support the PM, whether you like it or not. And they are not paid. Anyone with a view which differs from yours does not have to be a paid troll. Stop making these umptions.
                Reply
                1. A
                  ashok s
                  Nov 17, 2016 at 12:40 am
                  OK I agree move is good one as taken by govt. But at same time I want an affidavit from them that they didn't interfere in RBI job, neither the info was pre leaked . second I want to know by 24th how many sharks were netted. Third that govt has surveillance system in place that black money holders have no skip route like that they are not facilated for conversion. When will govt take action against Hugh lockers facilities holders and multiple property owners or say benami property owners.
                  Reply
                  1. Load More Comments