HYDERABAD: It was an usual day for Finance and Civil Supplies Minister Etela Rajender, who had only yesterday said that he was also feeling the pinch after demonetisation.
When consumers and owners of fair price shops competed with one another to pour out their hardships imposed after notes ban and shortage of low value notes, the minister had to perform a balancing act by allaying their fears as well as convincing them that demonetisation would be useful for the economy in the days to come.
The occassion was ‘National Consumer Day’ and a programme was organised by the Civil Supplies Department where consumers could relay their problems relating to demonetisation at the secretariat here on Saturday. Some consumers said that they were unable to get even essential commodities as they did not get enough cash from banks and ATMs.
L Rajam, a Kerosene dealer, said the poorest of the poor consume 11,000 kilo litres of kerosene per month in the state. Due to lack of smaller value notes, the poor were unable to buy even kerosene. “The kerosene tankers had to wait for four to five days in each village to download the stocks, due to lack of cash. As against 11,000 kilo litres of kerosene, the dealers were able to deliver only 8,000 kilo litres in November and the trend was the same in December too,” he said.
When the Finance Minister tried to explain the benefits of adopting cashless mode of transactions,some dealers complained that not everyone kept swiping machines. “Even as the State government is moving towards cashless transactions, the common man is facing problems due to lack of swiping machines at fair price shops. Swiping machines are supplied to petrol bunk dealers but there is a scarcity of swiping machines. The State government should immediately provide required number of swiping machines,” N Raju, president of Fair Price Dealers Association, said.
Finance minister weighs in While lending an ear to the problems of consumers and dealers, the Finance Minister said the government is taking steps to provide swiping machines to all fair price shops. Rajender added that delivery of equitable justice was possible only with the “proper implementation of demonetisation move.” The spirit of the Constitution was not implemented as the money got accumulated with some persons. Steps like demonetisation would help in development of equitable justice, the Minister said and requested the Central government to not stop the process in the middle.
The Finance Minister said there was `71,000 crore in circulation and Telangana had received only `20,700 crore in new currency notes. This is the reason for the shortage of the cash, he said.