On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to the nation that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes will cease to be legal tender. Today marks the third anniversary of the move that led to widespread turmoil due to the sudden cash strife.
From people dying in seemingly endless queues to marriages being called off, TNIE Online revisits the problems faced by harried account holders during those testing times.
Death comes calling:
Many reportedly died waiting in queues to get their own money. Most of them were elderly people who had been waiting to take their pension or money for household expenses. A 70-year-old farmer from Thanjavur died in the queue while waiting to withdraw cash from a nationalised bank near Papanasam. This was one of the many instances that grabbed the attention of national media. (READ MORE)
Hospitals refuse to settle bills with old notes:
In another critical problem that came to the fore after demonetisation, hospitals stopped taking old notes. Union law minister Sadananda Gowda lost his brother who had been admitted at a private hospital and tried to settle the bill with old notes but the hospital refused to accept them. (READ MORE)
Woman delivers a baby while waiting in queue:
But in between all the deaths, there was a glimmer of hope despite the toll rising. A woman in Uttar Pradesh delivered a baby while waiting in a queue and named the child Khazanchi Nath. (READ MORE)
Spate of crimes:
1. The crime spree included an ATM van heist by Domnic, a driver of a cash management service, who stole Rs 1.37 crore on November 23 and was caught within a week. (READ MORE)
2. Five members of a gang including a Central Crime Branch (CCB) police constable were arrested for extorting Rs 25 lakh from a shopkeeper in Rajajinagar. (READ MORE)
3. Money laundering: Banks, RBI officials and many more fell victim to the taxman and Enforcement Directorate sleuths during demonetisation. (READ MORE)
4. After demonetisation, raids were almost a daily affair for the Enforcement Directorate, IT personnel and CBI. Over Rs 266 crore found at a Malappuram bank and the raids on the former TN Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao at his office and residence were a few instances that stood out. (READ MORE)
Marriage – a knotty affair during demonetisation:
Marriages are set to be a match made in heaven, but if your wedding was scheduled in the aftermath of demonetisation, then it was more likely to have been a match with your banker to get funds to pay for the expenses. Here are some of the many weddings that weathered the rough ‘Demon’ times.
1. Shikha, 22, a resident of Jagatpuri, got engaged to Kunal from Noida eight months earlier and was all set to tie the knot on November 25. But the marriage was called off by the groom's family as her family was only able to offer Rs 2.5 lakh as dowry. (READ MORE)
2. Since demonetisation, villagers from Kendrapara district in Odisha chose to opt for low-cost marriages in temples. Following the announcement of the Prime Minister, hundreds of marriages were solemnised in different temples. (READ MORE)
3. Marriages becoming low key events: The reluctance of stakeholders in the wedding industry to switch over to cashless payments left to-be-married couples high and dry. (READ MORE)
4. Extravagance in the times of austerity: Mining baron Janardhan Reddy held his daughter Brahmani’s wedding on November 16, after which a complaint from a social activist led to raids on Reddy’s offices on November 21. Other high-profile weddings included that of Adoor Prakash's son Ajayakrishnan and Megha B Ramesh, daughter of hotelier and bar bribery scam whistleblower Biju Ramesh, which was held at a palatial venue. (READ MORE)
Indians have learnt to take demonetisation in their stride despite the hardships. Villages have become the beacons of digital India and are helping to bring about change through complete digitisation. Here are a few.
1. People of Seekarajapuram, a remote village near Thiruvalam in Wallajah taluk, were queuing up for a different reason. This hamlet was all set to become the first digital village in the district and the driving force behind the achievement was the zeal of the people to embrace technology. (READ MORE)
2. Khandalavadi, a village along the Chennai-Tiruchy National Highway, became the apple of cashless India's dreamy eyes as it adopted cashless transactions at every street corner with the help of the administration and banks there. (READ MORE)
3. Sex workers embrace cashless: The 10,000 sex workers of Sonagachi switched enthusiastically to cashless transactions -- mainly Paytm but also card-swiping machines. (READ MORE)
(With inputs from ENS)