The announcement of demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes made by the Prime Minister of India in an unscheduled live televised addressed on 8 November raised every citizen’s attention . The changes aims for Digital Economy in the nation.
In the announcement, Modi declared that use of all 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series would be invalid past midnight, and announced the issuance of new 500 and 2,000 rupee banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi New Series in exchange for the old banknotes.
Ever since then the citizens are standing in long queues outside the banks and ATMs to get the old currency changed and to withdraw the money out of bank accounts.
The government claimed that the demonetisation was an effort to stop counterfeiting of the current banknotes allegedly used for funding terrorism, as well as a crack down on black money in the country. The move was also described as an effort to reduce corruption, the use of drugs, and smuggling.
However, in the days following the demonetisation, banks and ATMs across the country faced severe cash shortages with severe detrimental effects on a number of small businesses, agriculture, and transportation.
Recently, Congress state president and Bihar’s IT Minister Ashok Choudhary ripped apart Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh over the flaming issue of demonetisation, when the latter was in Patna to attend the ‘Digi Dhan Mela’. Choudhary condemned the Centre stating that since November 8th, people have only being facing hardships.
Attacking the Union Minister, Choudhary said that the BJP-led government has brought upon an uncertain future for the nation with its ‘digital economy’ initiative, while the common man continued to struggle.
“Pardon me, but wasn’t a commitment made that the pain of the tsunami of demonetisation would be relieved? All of us accepted the initial announcement because of the first impression created that it was the so called surgical strike on corruption and black money. But 93 percent of the currency was outlawed by a stroke of a pen,” Choudhary said.
In conversation with The DQ Week, the local dealers of IT market in Patna expressed their views on becoming a cashless economy. The local dealers in Patna are facing market slow down and says that there is demand in the market but people are not willing to buy items as are not ready to pay the transaction charges.
On becoming a digital economy, Abhishek Bidasaria, a local dealer in Patna says that “With digital economy, we as IT dealers will and are facing low margins on sales and people are not willing to pay the transaction charges involved resulting in less sales and low cash flow in the market”.
“Since the announcement of demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes is made, the sales are down. Being an IT market dealer i believe that if government is planning for digital economy and going cashless, the very first step should be awareness. In the nation where computer is not known to all, digital economy seems to have an uncertain future also the government should think of the dealers like us who are facing loss because of transaction charges which people are not willing to pay” said Abhishek Kumar, local dealer, Patna.