BENGALURU: Post Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to demonetize Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes on Tuesday, normal life in the city was heavily affected. Among the people who were the most affected were small shops. As ATMs and banks remained closed, passengers who had reached Bengaluru via railways on Wednesday had a tough time travelling to their homes. Meanwhile, usually busy areas such as MG Road, Brigade Road and Koramangala wore a deserted look.
While petrol bunks continued to remain crowded, restaurant managers and autorickshaw drivers were seen confirming with the customers if they have Rs 100 notes with them. Some shops even displayed boards reading: ‘Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 not accepted’. Interestingly, in some areas such as Chamarajanagar, people were seen exchanging Rs 1,000 for Rs 500, thereby capitalising on the regulation.
Venkat Krishna, a commuter, said, “I went to a petrol bunk in Yelahanka and I was told that only Rs 1,000s are accepted. So although my requirement was just for Rs 500, I ended up filling my tank for Rs 1,000.”
Talking about the inconvenience faced by shopkeepers at National Market in Majestic, Pasha said, “Business has been really down. Looks like this will continue for a few days. We cannot keep the swiping machine as our transactions are for small amounts like Rs 200 or Rs 400.”
Mithali K, who was on a train when the news broke out, says, “I will have to reach my paying guest in Gandhi Bazar and borrow money from a friend to pay the autorickshaw driver. I have only Rs 500 notes with me.”
However, there were many who came to the rescue of the people. Suchitra P of JP Nagar says, “Super markets were open till late night on Tuesday, which was very helpful. A majority of shops and hotels also offered discounts and cashbacks on Wednesday.”
Thyagu Valliappa from Bangalore Chambers of Industry and Commerce said that the next one month will be a difficult time. There is likely to be chaos with regard to transaction of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. “This will severely cripple the business functions, especially the MSME sector which forms the lifeline of the Indian economy. The government needs to quickly resolve any teething complications related to the physical currency transaction on a priority basis so that the economy is not affected badly,” he said.
K Ravi, president of Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said, “The government had given ample opportunity to the public to declare black money and had also indicated that stringent action would be taken if this opportunity was not utilised.
In the short term, there may be inconvenience and economic disruptions to the common man, trade and industry. However, business will get regulated in course of time and we are confident that inflation will come down and the Rupee will become stronger in the world economy. The collection of taxes will improve. The widening of the tax should result in reduction of tax rates.”