Demonetisation has had an unprecedented effect across the country, but a small yet significant section of women in Delhi-NCR is reeling from the impact too — those part of kitty parties. For the uninitiated, a kitty party is a social gathering of women who get together every month, typically for brunch. At these parties, the ladies contribute a set amount of money that they add to the ‘kitty.’ This is followed by a lucky draw, and the winner takes home the total amount. Each participant gets a chance to win the kitty, creating a saving fund of sorts. Not anymore.
A regular on the Delhi runway for many years, model Amanpreet Wahi says she has lost her savings due to demonetisation.
“I was part of eight kitty parties but they are all dissolved now. I used to save up to Rs 10 lakh in a year, but now it’s all gone. I don’t even have cash to buy sabzi (grocery) in my wallet”
Makeup artist Meenakshi Dutt, who is known for hosting parties almost every week, has a similar story. “I am a part of a kitty where I used to save around three to four lakh every year. But these parties are not happening now. Last week, I got a call from one of the members and she told me to take my money back. The kitty can’t afford to get such a big amount converted into the new currency,” she says.
The cash crunch is made worse by the fact that these women deal mostly in notes of Rs. 500 and 1000. Dr Nidhi Bhargav says, “We used to hold kitty parties every month, with everyone contributing Rs 5000, and in the end, getting a lump sum amount in return. This time the party had to be cancelled. All of us dealt mostly with Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Online payment options are there but a lot of people in the group don’t trust them. We are only comfortable with cash in our wallets,” she says.
Pooja Gaur, a Janakpuri resident says that her means of saving are now defunct. “Being a housewife, my husband gives me money for monthly expenses and I try to do a little bit of personal saving through these kitties. With no extra cash in hand now, I had to discuss my savings with my husband, and it has just ruined the whole process of my expenditure,” she says.
Restaurants in the Capital say their business is suffering too. “Kitty parties hosted in our restaurants have reduced by half. We are offering discounts and have facilities like Paytm. But these ladies rarely come in and swipe a card. It’s all about cash for them,” says Akshay Anand of HotMess Kitchen & Bar.
Aashita Relan, owner, Royal China, says they are facing the same problem.
Member of a kitty? Go cashless
1 Use apps like Chillr, PayZapp, Paytm for direct online transfers. Everyone sends the set amount to the chosen person’s bank account.
2 Contribute in terms of vouchers. A lot of labels, e-commerce portals offer cash vouchers that can be exchanged for specific goods.
3 Go for smaller denominations i.e regulate the kitty amount till the situation stabilises.