Do you have the exact change? Chutta paisa hai na? Rs.2000 ka change mein kaha se layega? Baad mein paisa lautaa dena. How will I foot my hospital bills?
Familiar with conversations like these now, bewildered look on faces of people exiting out of ATMs with currency note of 2000 only. Well these are fairly common sightings today while the establishment grapples with the mammoth task of implementing strategies to containing and satisfying the currency requirement of this country.
It has been a turbulent and a historic period with an event like this in the country. Called a barbaric move by those probably hurt financially and a bold smart game changer by the majority, which ironically is stoically bearing the brunt of the impact of having to spend quality time getting hold of small currency, to keep the daily life smooth.
Two clear school of opinion emerge, one the ever voluntary naysayers and then are some treading that path from some hearsay grapevine or unconnected bad experience. People’s voicing logical support is generally construed to be in some sort of devotion to the current rock star PM and his increasing brood of unarguably talented ministers. Increasingly content after content is being put out and the war of disagreements and opinions has now proliferated every channel of communication or interactions and more so has become the favourite pastime.
These shocks were bound to happen since the currency denomination involved comprised close to 80% of the currency notes in circulation. So much has been said and written about the derailment of the currency with removal of two key high value notes that the clear rift in the population seemed almost as stark as in comparison to other social issues except that this time happily it is revolving around those impacted and pretending to rally for poor people and the other majority which while suffering the impact is taking the pain in their stride with the hope that it may deliver them results in the war against the stigma of corruption.
You watch biased TV anchors struggling to get some bytes out of the hordes struggling for hours to get hold of change. They force feed adjectives to the uninitiated to get their TRPs in order.
“Are you sure you are not inconvenienced? “
“Do you think this could have been done better by preparing the ATM s well in advance “
“Perhaps the PM could have arranged for the marriage season to get over “
“Won’t the bigger new currency make up for the renewed collection of unaccounted money”
But the anchors and the premier English TV channels are stumped with majority of the population refusing to give into their clamour for decrying the establishment.
The Finance minister has one simple remedy to all the emotional blackmail. Please use digital and non cash forms of payment. The rural population who’s inconvenience is being drummed about as the worst hit by the opposition; surely they are the least affected as far as bigger notes are concerned, since that’s the reality at the ground level. The political parties sense that this outcry will attract some attention only in the first few days as the ATMs race to align with new dimensions and dispensations of notes. Once the masses return to their daily routine with sufficient avenues of currency, the first round will have been convincingly won and a huge nail driven into the coffin of black unaccounted money. By far this is the first time that among successive Governments, someone has tried to look beyond the safe haven country banks!
The digitized banking can be addictive with its resounding convenience which the masses are yet to experience. With the language of currency reducing and cyber paths trickling with electronic cash, unethical practices are going to be all the more challenging. The naysayers who did their Houdini act for the last few decades, urgently have become conscientious keepers of the country making one worry what exactly they have got to lose!
By taking a difficult and risky stance the establishment has so far done well to weather all the criticism and risk of national peace. The bankers rose to the occasion and like soldiers on the front line they have become a symbol of an emerging new country where participation in national activities is just not restricted to standing up during the National Anthem played at cinemas, but also actually feel party to a new vibrant emerging economy and cultural identity.
Ahh yes, sitting snugly in the warm wallet of this Truck Driver from ABC Logistics & Cargo Company, I am Rs.20 and I feel privileged like never before since for the first time, after sharing my above thoughts, I have seen my owner cautiously spending, postponing un-necessary spends, holding all the loose change in his wallet with utmost care and sincerity. I believe my owner has also realized that regular daily life could be dealt with much lower cash requirements without panic. Well even if it is for few days, along with my fellow small notes like Rs.50 and Rs.100, we feel a new sense of respect gained from our fellow countrymen!