Mom and I have come to my material uncle’s house in Allahabad on the occasion of Kali Puja and Diwali. We were scheduled to return home after Bhaiphonta or Bhai Dooj. But, my grandfather (Dadu) and uncle (Mama) had to be hospitalised on the eve of Kali Puja. Both were suffering for sometime and they became very serious on the day we went to Maihar. The same night we had to admit them to the hospital. Although my Dadu was discharged from the hospital after a few days, but mama’s condition was critical. He was in ICU for long time. So, we had to postpone our return journey. Mama was discharged yesterday from the hospital.

On the evening of November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetised all 500 and 1000 rupee notes with immediate effect. All Banks and ATMs were closed on November 9 to make necessary arrangements. ATMs reopened today and are only dispensing notes worth 2000 rupees. We came to Allahabad on a short trip with return ticket booked and itinerary planned and finalised. We didn’t carry much cash or cheque books. We had our debit cards to meet cash requirements, but now we just got stuck with little cash. I am returning today. Mom returned yesterday with Dadu. In short notice, we couldn’t get tickets to travel on the same day.

Today, I went to ATM for cash I need for my journey expenses. OMG! What a rush at the ATMs. It seems people are on assault – dhava bol diya, as we say in Hindi. Every ATM has a big queue. HDFC ATM was better with 25-30 people standing in an orderly queue. But, there was a chaos at the ATM of State Bank of India. Obviously the news of demonetisation has caused a panic among people and everyone wants to get 100 rupee notes. Many ATMs are already dry and bank people are at stress to meet the demands. At places, banks called in police or closed down for the day to cope with the rush of customers.

Scene at an ATM of HDFC Bank in Allahabad

This situation is same everywhere. My mom said that she went to an ATM at Kolkata for cash. She also had to stand in the queue for long time.

I went to the Chowk market to buy some items that my mom asked me. By the time I reached there, there was a raid by Income Tax authorities. They chased the customers out to close down the shops. It’s all mess everywhere. Everyone seems to be confused. I went to a sweet shop to buy some sweets. The shop owner accepted 500 rupee note for sweets worth 450 rupees and 10 percent was his exchange fee!! He is trying to make some fast bucks encashing the situation.

note-bandiThe sudden demonetisation to prevent corruption and fake currency notes has caused confusion and people are behaving strange. I hope that the situation gets normal soon. We have to get adjusted to it anyway.

This is the third time that high-value currency notes are demonetised in India.

Cartoon By R.K.Laxman When Morarji Desai Withdrew 1000, 5000 & 10000 Rupee Notes in 1978. (Image: Times of India)

The first time it was done in 1946.



    1. Yes Shivangi, I also hope that this demonetisation reduces the corruption and fake currency notes in the country. But the sudden death of 500 and 1000 rupee notes caused panic among public. It’s a logistic and administrative nightmare to make enough legal currencies available at every corner of the country given the size of the country and diversity of demography. Situation needs to be handled on war-footing to avoid its slipping into a crisis.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Both SBI and UBI branches are situated in front of each other in our institute. So you could imagine the crowd and chaos here. If the condition is so bad in our campus (IIT Kanpur), it must be even worse in the main city.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The sudden demonetisation has caused a panic among the public. This has caused the chaos. To meet their demand, the government, the RBI and the banks need to act fast although it’s a logistic and administrative nightmare. I wish it gets over soon and the purpose is served.

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  2. After yesterday, the kind of mad rush at the ATMs all across the city, two things have emerged, (1) the Indians, by large, are not equipped to handle things calmly. There is an urgent need to bring discipline in the masses. (2) the govt (RBI) is not handling the situation in a professional manner. Seems there is not much coordination amongst the bankers. Ideally, if the demand is for 1lakh rs, the availability should be at least 1.10lakh in the ATMs. It is the other way around.
    Hope the situation turns better in the days to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aranjit, what you said is simple arithmetic but there should be availability of adequate number of currency notes in banks to be dispensed via ATM as well as payment across the counters. Lower the denomination more is the space needed. Banks cannot fill the ATMs with the value of cash as they were doing a couple of days ago.
      500 and 1000 rupee notes made up more than 80 percent of the currency in circulation and so their withdrawal has left millions of people without cash and is threatening to grind large parts of the cash-driven economy to a halt.
      Common people are naturally risk averse, so they don’t want to wait to get their old notes exchanged. They want the cash in hand to remain with the same value. A common man thinks it is better to have cash in hand, even if he requires only ₹2,000, he will feel safe withdrawing ₹10,000. 500 and 1000 rupee notes are now like “impaired cash in hand”. 🙂
      We can’t blame public for this. When many opposition leaders are shouting that the decision is a flop and many others are spreading rumours, it’s difficult to get the general public disciplined. Yesterday, the salt was selling at ₹200 in UP as someone spread that there is going to be a shortage of salt soon!
      It’s easy to put the blame on the RBI or on banks. At just 24 hour notice, it’s not feasible to ship required currencies to every corner of the country, even if that is available at RBI vaults, and make them available at the counters and ATMs of banks. With the introduction of new-look currency notes, all the ATM machines need to be reconfigured, which needs evacuation of the ATMs for old notes and finishing the back-end work. For this, an engineer has to physically visit an ATM and the reconfiguration could take 3 to 4 hours. And it will take a minimum of 10 days to get done with this reconfiguration process pan India.
      It is the joint responsibility of the ministers, the government, the RBI, banks and local administration to explain to the public and stand by them to avoid chaos. Media should also contribute positively in this endeavour. Faith in the new system must be established at the earliest.
      Let’s hope that the situation returns to normal soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Also we as a nation must curb our penchant for cash and embrace plastic/ electronic means of transaction. The smaller shop owners should be roped in to accept debit/ credit cards at the earliest. Any transaction over 2000rs must be through plastic/ electronic means.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. well as per the newspaper the new Rs 2000 note is not supported by many ATM machines, which is not really a great situation. Dispensing Rs 100 note is time consuming!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes all ATMs need to be reconfigured for ₹2000 and new ₹500 notes, which needs evacuation of the ATMs for old notes and finishing the back-end work. For this, an engineer has to physically visit an ATM and the reconfiguration could take 3 to 4 hours. And it will take a minimum of 10 days to get done with this reconfiguration process pan India. The situation may improve after 2 weeks.
      Yes, dispensing ₹100 note is time consuming and also ATMs cannot hold large value of cash as the denomination is only ₹100 only so the machines dry up fast. This is a transition phase, anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Everywhere same picture! I have a programme for Kerala next monday, Naturally need some cash. My next door Bank though allowed me to draw little more than their limit of 4k but I had to stand in que for two consecutive days since the ATMs were not operating. Yesterday evening Axis Bank Sector III, Salt lake Br started functioning. So I got some more cash. People are in difficulties but everyone happily adjusted with the situation. The step taken has been welcomed by people. Thats is the reason people are standing with patience. Hope within next few days situation will improve with sufficient cash flow and more ATM operational.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. All ATMs need to be reconfigured for ₹2000 and new ₹500 notes, which needs evacuation of the ATMs for old notes and finishing the back-end work. For this, an engineer has to physically visit an ATM and the reconfiguration could take 3 to 4 hours. And it will take a minimum of 10 days to get done with this reconfiguration process pan India. But everyone, especially bankers are doing their best and also they’re working for extended hours. So people are happily adjusting to it. It’s a temporary transition phase. Let’s hope that the situation returns to normal soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The fact that 500 and 1000 were declared as “not legal” tender caused all the confusion. And the lines and queues in banks and ATMs is causing havoc. While I hope the move achieves all its objectives, wish the exercise was implemented in a better way. As always the common man is suffering.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very right Rashmi. Let’s also not forget that the common man is very much a part of the system that created black money.
      1. Common man is the one who goes and gets his groceries from a retail shop for cheaper price, knowing that the retail shop hardly pays any tax at all.
      2. Common man is the one who prepares fake rental agreements and shows it as proof for HRA.
      3. Common man is the one who pays bribe (through black money) to a government official, just to seek favours.
      4. Common man is the one who accepted ₹500/ ₹1000 (black money) from both political parties that are contesting elections.
      5. Common man is the one who purchases a product without bill, to save money (thereby creating black money).
      6. Common man is the one who offers bribe (black money) to the police for drunk driving, not wearing a helmet, etc. instead of paying heavy fines at the court.
      7. Common man is the one who saves money little by little, purchases property and registers for under market value to save money (thereby creating black money).
      8. Common man is the one who gives donation (black money) to a private school who won’t give a bill.
      And there are many such cases, which have become a part of our lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The cartoon as an embellishment, to the most trending topic today, that never ceases to die down, and with each passing day, there seems to be more and more problems but hopefully , the continuous monitoring and review by the GOI will allay all fears.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, queues are getting shorter and notes are being issued, albeit slowly. People are getting used to new normal – of cash shortage. We are resorting to digital mode as far as possible. Yes, many people are not in a position to use the digital mode of transfer. It will take time. Every change comes with initial discomforts and its share of pains. With regular monitoring and other steps in unison will serve the purpose. We all are hopeful that our hardships will bear fruits.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Its 3rd December now. The lines are very much there. Even though the “exchange” lines have vanished as the activity has been abolished. Reeks of a deeper malaise; inadequate currency.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes Ankurji, it seems that there could have been some more preparedness, like getting more stock of new currency notes, especially ₹500, ready before demonetising the old ones. It’s a big difference between ₹2000 and ₹100 that is making ₹2000 notes not so acceptable. Good thing is that this shock is pushing many transactions being done digitally. Hope, we will not lose this momentum of doing transactions digitally once the cash supply is normalised.
      Cash shortage is still hurting common people and management of this situation could have been better. India is a huge, diverse and complex nation and so are its bureaucracy, leadership and institutions. It’s often difficult to get over the inertia.

      Liked by 2 people

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