Exactly 100 days since Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on national television to announce the shock recall of high value currency notes, the crippling effects of demonestisation, which polarised opinion sharply across the country, cash supply at ATM’s across Gurgaon remains erratic and scarce. Though the queues outside ATM’s dispensing money has reduced considerably, occasional beelines are still seen on days when supply is running thin. Those in the queue still have to wait for over 15-20 minutes for their turn and hope the machines don’t run out of cash.
Despite being located next to the national capital, none of the banks get their cash supply from the headquarters of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
While 239 banks get their cash supply from treasure chests within Gurgaon, another 476 bank branches get theirs from RBI branches and treasure chests located across Haryana.
The supply is significantly low as cash from these treasure chests is first distributed among other districts of Haryana, and whatever remains trickles into Gurgaon. The city’s small share of the money pie is often attributed to its geographical location.
As an HT team made a visit to the Sector 31 main market on Thursday in order to get a sense of the lingering cash crisis, only two of the 15 ATMs located in the complex were found to be dispensing cash. Sector 31, incidentally, is the area from where Gurgaon district’s lead bank manager (LDM) and his officials operate.
The LDM works as an interface between banks and the RBI and monitors and updates figures related to the cash situation in a city that does not have a RBI office.
RC Nayak, the LDM, said that though the cash situation has improved significantly, the supply is still falling short of demand. The LDM’s data revealed that 715 bank branches received over Rs 6519.36 crore from several treasure chests between November 9, 2015 and January 21, 2016.
Nayak claims that Gurgaon needs a daily cash supply of Rs 2,000 crores to meet the demands of residents.
“Gurgaon is the financial centre of Haryana and cumulatively needs more money than all the remaining districts in the state. Although the situation has improved, there is still a pressing need to ramp up cash supply till such time the city switches over to a cashless economy,” Nayak said.
Lack of adequate money supply has also forced many citizens to switch from paper to digital currency for sale and purchase of essential commodities or make financial transactions.
For Arvind Kumar, a paanwala (betel-leaf seller) in Sector 29, the switch to digital currency post demonetisation has led to a loss in revenue. Arvind, who gives his customers the option of making payments through mobile wallets, claimed that the option of paying the exact amount on mobile wallet has limited the possibility of customers purchasing some additional inexpensive goods in lieu of change.
“With the mobile wallet option on offer, a customer pays the exact amount. Earlier, if a customer purchased a paan for Rs 34,he or she would end up buying items costing another Rs 6 to Rs16 to facilitate so I could hand them the change. Though the sale of main items hasn’t suffered, I have been incurring a loss of about 10 per cent in cash collection since November,” Arvind said.
For some, the switch to an alternative course to tide over the effects of cash ban, was temporary. Star Tower, an office hub in sector 30 enables parking of as many as 1,000 cars. The rates here range from Rs 50 for four hours to Rs 100 for the whole day.
After demonetisation, the officials could not carry out regular monetary transaction and enabled parking by keeping a record of the dues of each customer. In December, they introduced the mobile wallet option. However, this too, could not resolve the issue.
“After making the mobile wallet option available the parking situation returned to normal. Customers paid their dues online or through mobile wallets. However, when the monthly revenue collection was sent to the digital wallet service, our records did not match. The service claimed that our revenue records were exceeding by 10-15% of their data,” Surender Kumar, parking supervisor of Pro-Align Global (the company in-charge of Star Mall parking), said.
Surender added that the digital wallet option was abolished and payment through paper currency was restored. He claimed that despite lower recovery, the system enables more transparency.