DeMo days are back again

Quite mysteriously, teller machines of banks (ATMs) in as many as eleven States have suddenly gone ‘dry’. There is no cash in them. The Authorities seem clueless and confused. Some say that this being a festive season, ‘suddenly’ there was a huge rush for cash which was not expected. Pray, why? Everyone knows that this is the beginning of the Indian New Year, known and observed differently in different States – Naba Barsha in Bengal, Bihu in Assam, Puthandu in Chennai, Vaishakhi in north India and so on and so forth. So, what was the ‘suddenness’ about it for which the Authorities were not prepared? The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has done one better: he has thrown dark hints that the teller machines going dry is a ‘conspiracy’ without throwing any light on who the conspirators are and what the object of the conspiracy is. When all the levers of power are with the ruling party, who could pull off such a conspiracy all of a sudden?
There are no answers to these questions as there cannot be. Meanwhile the almost forgotten picture of long queues before banks and ATMs which became a common sight for weeks after the demonetization of December 8, 2016, have come back again. The ailing Finance Minister has assured the country that there is enough stock of currency notes with the Reserve Bank of India. If so, why was this crisis allowed to develop? Why the teller machines were not fully stocked? The people have been told that a huge number of 500-rupee notes is being printed. This, again, shows an alarming lack of commonsense. What the common people mostly need are not five hundred rupee or higher denomination notes but 100-rupee and 200-rupee notes. Notes of these denominations are not available in sufficient numbers even in banks. The clerks insist that the clients accept as many high denomination notes as possible.
What the people particularly resent is their helplessness to withdraw their own hard-earned and tax-paid money for no fault of theirs. Patients needing immediate hospitalization or families where marriages are about to take place are being made victims of the cash crunch. People’s faith in the entire banking system is being eroded. In the wake of demonetization, the Prime Minister said he was trying to bring in the age of cashless economy. Perhaps now he is thinking of a moneyless economy.  Meanwhile, the demonetization days are back again.

Sunday, 22 April, 2018