Goodwill alone is making both ends meet at village Kanariya in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone district, where people have resorted to barter system due to cash crunch after demonetisation as daily wagers are paid wages through goods of equal value.
The quantity of food grains given is equal to the person’s wages. The daily wage of a labourer is Rs 300. So he is given 20 kg of Makka (corn) worth Rs 15 per kg. He gives 1 kg of corn at grocery shops and gets goods worth Rs 20.Similarly, a milkman exchanges a litre of milk for goods worth Rs 50.
Labourer Motiram of Kanariya gets paid in cereals or food items, part of which he consumes and the rest he uses to buy something else. “Nobody has cash. The nearest bank is 30 kilometres away. It’s better to work and take food grains than waste our time in bank queues. In any case, we don’t have much savings,” says Motiram.
Usha Bai owns a small grocery store in the same village. “I’m giving out oil, soap, spices etc in exchange for grains. I’ll exchange these grains at the mandi for money and buy things from the grocery store,” she says.
Tribal villages Lakhapur, Karanya, Pakhaliya, Kathoda etc, which are situated between 50 to 60 km from the district headquarters, undergo the same ordeal as they need to travel 25 to 30 km to reach the nearest bank.
“There are obvious difficulties in this barter system as the other person might not want your goods. Still, it is working in villages here as people know each other,” says Karaniya panchayat secretary Arvind Jaiswal.
In village Palasi of Dewas district, grocer Mohanlal Akotia purchases wholesale goods in Indore where he pays in grains he gets from farmers.
“Farmers pay day labourers in food grains, which they exchange for daily essentials at my shop,” says Akotia.
The situation is the same in surrounding villages Udainagar, Pipri, Punjapura, Haibatpur, Kusmania, Kantophor where credit-based transaction has surfaced as the popular alternative.