PM Narendra Modi has strongly appreciated his government’s promise to tackle ‘black money’ by through his demonetization drive. What he and his party members have failed to notice is the plight of a daily wage laborer.
A daily wage laborer is a person who lives hand to mouth through his daily earnings. India is the capital of daily wage laborers and Modi’s demonetization drive has pushed their life further back into a mess.
Imagine daily wager spending his entire day standing in line of a bank, if and only if he or she has a bank account. In India, even after PM Jan Dhan Yojana, there are innumerable labors, especially in rural India who do not own a bank account. In such a case, how does the government propose these people survive.
The government had promised that from November 11, ATMs would be functional and citizens can withdraw upto Rs. 2000 per card until November 18. After which people can withdraw upto Rs. 4000 per card. But has this plan worked? Not at all.
There is acute shortage of changed currency, even in the major cities. The situation in rural India is even worse. Two thousand rupee notes haven’t been made available in rural areas.
Daily wagers working in small factories and construction companies are going through hell. These laborers, who are either migrants or come from rural areas have complained that they have received money in currency of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000. A recent report by Scroll.in explaining how laborers in Bihar have stopped going to work.
The contractors of these labors are still paying them in notes of 500 and 1000. At the same time, the inefficient circulation of new currency has made it hard for people to exchange money through banks. Even biggest public sector banks like SBI have failed to receive new notes.
What’s worse is the need to have id cards to exchange money and bank passbooks to deposit and withdraw money. Illiterate workers who do not have their bank passbooks or id cards cannot exchange their money through banks. PM Modi said that corrupt people who have hidden black money are unable to sleep while honest individuals don’t need to worry. Interestingly, the situation is just the opposite. The tech savvy class of the Indian society has shown tremendous patience with the demonetization drive, thanks to cashless payments in shopping malls and retail stores, but what about the poor?
In many parts of the Saurashtra region, farm laborers haven’t received payment and farmers are unable to sell their cotton and groundnuts. Although the central government promised the poor that government ration shops will be open and accepting 500 and 1000 rupee notes, the shops have remained closed in some parts of rural Gujarat.
Places with no government medical shops are making things worse for the people from whom private chemists are not accepting old notes.
For all the above reasons, government must take cognizance of the problems faced by the poor daily wage labors who are unfamiliar with the banking system. Thus, the government should allocate a certain percentage of cash for them only. Moreover, public sector banks should be asked to exchange their notes, even if they do not own an id card.