On 8th November, 2016 Ram along with his roommates had just gone to ATM to withdraw some money.
Ram was saving up for the past two years, for his planned trip with friends to Manali.
His parents weren’t those type of people who would agree to sponsor him and Ram didn’t want to ask them either. He had always worked hard for what he wanted in life and he was happy that he managed to save at least thousand rupees each month for the last twenty-four months.
Ram counted the money again, all those five hundred and thousand rupees’ notes, and it summed up to thirty-five thousand. That would be enough for Manali. He and roommates were packing up already. They were supposed to leave for Manali on 10th November, 2016 and everyone was excited. They were done with their college exams and this trip was long overdue. It was just the guys, trekking in those beautiful mountain hill tops.
Then Ram received a call from his mother. She informed him that five hundred and thousand rupees’ notes were not going to be valid from the next day hereafter. Ram laughed hysterically, Ram thought his mother was joking about it. But then his roommates received similar messages and calls. It wasn’t hysterical anymore, it was serious! What about their trip?
Every one panicked and they rushed to the nearest ATMS.
It was packed with long queues and some ATMS had already ran out of money.
Ram checked his wallet again and found that he just had a one hundred rupee note, a few ten bucks and four five hundred rupees note that seemed useless for the first time in his life.
They went to shops, petrol bunks asking for change but nobody was ready to give them the change.
Luckily, Ram’s friend Sundar, who father was a bank manager managed to give them fresh hundred and ten rupees notes the next day even though the banks were closed.
Ram changed all his thirty-five thousand to hundred and fifty rupee notes.
All his friends did, thanks to Sundar.
When Ram had gone back to his hostel room that day all he could think of was how grateful he was that he could still go for the trip the next day.
But while on his way back the noticed that the roads seemed so deserted.
He remembered the people he saw yesterday standing in the ATMS for hours and in the end realised that the money had ran out. The supermarket owners who kept counting the cash that they had, and literally panic was washed over their faces.
But Ram didn’t think too much into it, all he cared about was the Manali trip and how this Demonetization move by the government could have had a large impact on his long overdue, much planned trip.
But it didn’t.
You see, some people are fortunate enough to not even bother. But there are others who only have one ATMS within a ten-km radius. There are farmers who can’t leave their work to go exchange cash, and there are some people who don’t even know how to open a bank account. Retired personnel who can’t stand in those lines for more than half an hour and the bank officials who have to work for extra hours at least for the next two months and deal with angry customers who would probably blame them, shoving all their frustration on them. And what about those people who have the keep filling up those ATMs which they used to, at most once a day but now they have to do it at least thrice a day.
Yes, this was a bold move that can bring an end to all those uncredited sacks of money and probably end those injustice tax evasions.
But what about the three fourth of the population who have no access to financial institutions?
But most people like Ram, do not bother once their work is done.
Why do they have to?
– Bhargavi Ravi