The Costs of Demonetisation: New Notes Baffle the Blind; Moneylenders Cash in

A daily round-up of the human impact of demonetisation.

The queues may reduce, but the problems won't. Credit: Reuters

The queues may reduce, but the problems won’t. Credit: Reuters

Even though the 50-day deadline set by the Modi government is up, the problems seem to continue into a not-so-happy new year.

Confusing the visually impaired

The new notes have left the visually impaired baffled because of their varying features. The new notes have the same dimensions as the old notes that were for different denominations, making it difficult for people with visual impairments to recognise whether the notes are new or not. Tabrez Alam, as reported by The Hindu said, “the new ₹500 note appears to be of the same size as a ₹20 note. I can no longer tell the difference merely on the basis of the size of the note.” “We had learnt the trick after months of practice. Now we have to unlearn most of them and understand the new features,” said Kala, a visually impaired woman. The other problem that people are facing is the dangers of being tricked into accepting invalid currency. “I can be tricked into accepting a fake note,” says Harish, who works at a candle manufacturing unit in the city. But his problems did not stop there, as he revealed that he had to make five trips to the bank to get his money.

Moneylenders cash in 

Private moneylenders are making a comeback in Maharashtra. The Times of India reported on how they have cashed in on a scenario in which banks are unable to fully meet their customers’ laon requirements. Of the loans needed by farmers for the rabi season, the district cooperative banks have only been able to lend 18% of the total Rs 13,558 crore. The productivity is expected to rise this season, prompting an increase in the demand for loans. The demonetisation has created a parallel economy where moneylenders charging rates up to 120% on loans are going unchecked.

Tibetan hawkers see drop in sales

Each year, a number of Tibetan hawkers travel to Mumbai to sell winter clothes, which makes up a big part of their annual income. The hawkers, who hail from Mundgod in Karnataka – one of the biggest settlements of the community in the country, have not escaped the cash crunch. Since most of them do not have the means to accept payments through e-methods, their business has seen a drop in sales this year. “The business was obviously hit,” says Annu Kamar of the Mumbai Tibetan Sweater Sellers association. “People naturally stopped spending money on the goods we sell because of the cash crunch. Business in the Parel market has gone down by 50% as of now,” The Hindu reported.

Manufacturing down

According to an Economic Times report, the manufacturing sector saw a drop in production in the month of December.  The report cited a private survey which based its findings on the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, which witnessed a contraction. The cash crunch has further hindered job creation in the sector and also negatively impacted job shedding coupled with lower buying levels.

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