The Costs of Demonetisation: Kites Fail to Fly; Slump in Jobs

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

Inadequate cash supply is still leading to queues outside banks. Credit: PTI

Inadequate cash supply is still leading to queues outside banks. Credit: PTI

Pongal adds to cash woes

Demand for cash has gone up in Tamil Nadu with Pongal just two days away and preparations in full swing. Bank managers are struggling to keep up with the demand as the supply of cash is still low. Just four days ago, close to a hundred people who failed to get cash from SBI’s Anna University branch entered and issued threats to the manager. Police had to be called in. B. Raghuraman, president of Tamil Nadu Government Employees’ Association, was at State Bank of India’s PWD branch near Marina Beach andasked “Forget the Rs 3,000 Pongal allowance or DA arrears, we are not even getting our salaries. Some 3,000 account holders are begging to get a pittance from their accounts for over a week. Will the railways and state buses accept debit cards?” the Indian Express reported.

Kites fail to fly

Mangalwara’s Patang Bazaar in Bhopal has been a gloomy place post demonetisation. The cash crunch has led to falling sales and closing down of shops in the market. Nawaab, a kite seller whose family has been in this business for more than 50 years, said, “There were three permanent shops in Patang Bazaar. Other hawkers sold kites on the roadside.But come November 8, scrapping of old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 put most hawkers out of business and led to closure of two shops.” Sellers have been left stranded. “We are struggling to make our livelihood owing to highly reduced margins. Initially, our shop was at Jumerati area and later we shifted here because of Patang Bazaar. The craze for kite took a hit and and so has our business. Earlier, sale of kites would start from November, but this year, we are still waiting for orders and customers for Sankranti. Last year, we sold over 50,000 kites during festival, but this year we just hope to touch 50% of last year’s sale,” Nawab added, according to the Times of India.

Slump in jobs

According to The Hindu, around 1,000 workers have been laid off in the past three months at the Hero Moto Corp. plant in Gurugram. Dropping sales post demonetisation have led to a number of workers losing their jobs as companies look to cut losses. “On December 17, the company told me and a bunch of fellow contract workers that the production had gone down due to fall in demand in the wake of demonetisation and directed us to proceed on leave. The company has so far asked more than a 1,000 workers to go on leave since November 27. Now we are getting calls from the office asking us to get our dues settled. It practically means that we have all lost our jobs,” said Sikander, now leading a fight against the company.

Engineering colleges are witnessing a drop in companies seeking new recruits. Since the construction sector has been hit post demonetisation, very few construction companies have come to colleges across the city. “The slump in construction offers was expected. The sector was adversely affected post demonetisation as it heavily relies on informal workers. The property values have gone down as well,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, executive vice-president at TeamLease Services, a human-resource consulting agency, Hindustan Times reported.

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