The Prime Minister might well have promised that the ordeal would be over by the end of this year, but those in the party mood in the run-up to the New Year are not too sure.
Demonetisation blues have come home to roost and the fizz will be missing from the year-end bashes for thousands who were looking forward to ring in 2017 with an extra dose of colour and fun. A host of shows scheduled for Saturday night have been cancelled at the eleventh hour after organisers failed to arrange the cash needed to pay vendors.
“Yes, post demonetisation, the government’s decision to set a withdrawal limit of Rs 50,000 a week has had a bad affect on event management. Even if you want to organise a small party, you need to arrange payments for at least 15 to 20 vendors in cash and the amount runs into Rs 7 lakh to Rs 9 lakh,” said Sumitava Majumdar of Black Eyed Communication, an event management company.
The fuel bill for generators, the wages of daily labourers who set up the stages and the lights, the payments of the men and women who serve the food and drinks, and the security personnel and bouncers — all need to be paid in cash. These are apart from the mandatory cash payments to be made to local police stations, corporation and excise department. “Sometimes there are bribes too and you just can’t pay that in plastic money,” Majumdar said with a grin.
Event managers also pointed out that several disc jockeys (DJs) — an integral part of any 31st night party — do not have the service tax registration certificate to accept payments in cheques, demand drafts and electronic fund transfers. “In this backdrop, DJs who have the registration have raised their rates. This, in particular, has forced many cancellations because the budgets are getting too stretched,” said Satirtha Saha, the owner of another event management firm.
Avishek Basu, the regional head of Indian Performing Rights Society, said, “Around 400 organisers who applied with us for licence have cancelled their events. I’m sure there will be more.”