Delhi, what can you buy with a Rs 500 note? Soap and toothpaste, it seems
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, a parallel currency system emerged on Delhi’s streets on Monday morning.delhi Updated: Nov 10, 2016 09:52 IST
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, a parallel currency system emerged on Delhi’s streets on Wednesday morning.
Confused about what the change meant, a large section scurried to use the now outlawed currency as legal tender. Some used the opportunity to earn a premium.
Depending on how desperate or nervous a person was, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes could get different things in different parts of the city – a soap at a kirana shop in East of Kailash, a pair of bangles at the Sarojini Nagar market, an auto ride worth Rs 30 in Connaught Place, and just about enough vegetables for an evening meal in Wazirabad.
“A shopkeeper knew I only had 500- or 1000-rupee notes. First, he said it was ‘useless’. Then, he offered goods worth Rs 250. I had no option. I needed to get rid of a Rs 500 note, so I agreed. He said he was ‘helping’ me by accepting the currency,” said Shikha Srivastava, a 19-year-old history student from Maitreyi College.
Residents across the city had similar stories to share.
In East of Kailash, a housemaid who had a Rs 500 rupee note could buy a piece of soap and toothpaste. “The shopkeeper promised he would give me change two days later, but my employer would not accept that. In the end, however, she had to relent,” said Geeta Devi.
This is how much your 500 rupee note was worth in many places across the NCR.
• Petrol pumps • Metro stations • Railway stations • Bus terminal • Govt hospitals • Post offices • Airport for tickets • Mother Dairy outlets
The government has announced that the old notes can be exchanged in instalments at banks and post offices. New notes will also be made available at ATMs from Saturday.
People queued up in front of ATMs as soon as PM Modi announced the plan in an address to the nation on Tuesday night. ATMs soon were left with no Rs 100 notes. Those who couldn’t get an opportunity to withdraw cash, felt handicapped to buy daily groceries or pay for transport.
Some foreign tourists at the Janpath flea market were cheated by a group of local vendors, who told them to just hand over a wad of Rs1000 notes because they were now “worthless”.
Some of them just gave away the money, while others who were more enterprising managed to get three Rs100 notes in return – which became the going rate by evening.
In other markets in Delhi, merchants operating from benches that served as makeshift kiosks, exchanged 500- and 1000-rupee notes at a 40 per cent commission.
Local vendors refused to return balance amounts on purchases made with the now-defunct notes. “I just gave old notes worth Rs 2,000 and got Rs 1,200 in return. It’s a loss, but what can I do?” asked Rani, a homemaker from Preet Vihar. “At least I will be able to survive for the next two days with it.”