Nazma, 35, a daily wage earner at a factory in Seelampur is not going to work for the last four days. Her factory owner has denied payment due to sudden fall in his business after the demonetization of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes.
“I was sewing cloth in a garment factory and getting paid for 100 pieces every day. But the government’s announcement on November 8 banning Rs 500 and 1,000 notes has hit the small scale industries badly. A majority of them were doing transaction in cash and the recent development has put a cap on their functioning. As a result, their owners are denying work to the labourer,” she said.
More than losing her job, Nazma is worried about managing her household expenses. “I have been buying grocery items on credit for three days, but now even the shop owner has started asking for money. I don’t know what to do now,” she said.
To cut down the expenses on vegetables and pulses Ranju, who works as a labourer in Janta Colony in east Delhi, has started asking her kids to eat chappati with tea or chutney. “I have no other option. I don’t have money to buy vegetables and the situation may get worse in the future. So I have to prepare in advance,” she said.
Like her, there are many other people in unauthorised jhuggis and slum colonies who are facing the brunt of the government’s decision and finding it hard to run their household expenses.
Rachna, 30, a domestic help from Janta Colony has managed to get few hundred rupees from her employer but that’s not enough to pay her house rent and her children’s school expenses. “I had saved a few Rs 500 notes but they became useless all of sudden. After the announcement, I was literally clueless for two days as how to run my household expenses. I finally talked to my employer and got some change money.”
People who have no bank accounts are also becoming victims of currency traders, who are charging up to 60 per cent to swap the demonetised notes with new ones.
Javed Ansari, 25, a factory worker living in an unauthorised colony in Delhi is an example. “I didn’t know what to do with the Rs 500 notes I had. After my friend’s suggestion I visited a man who exchanged my Rs 500 note for Rs 400,” he said.
However, among all these odds instances, people like Prakash Singh, 26, are still hopeful that things will get better. “I am also going through a severe cash crunch. We are rationing essential items like milk and grocery. But I am sure that the decision will help us in long terms,” said Singh, a resident of Sonia Vihar.