Christmas has become the first major festival to be affected by the demonetisation of high denomination notes.
Sales of Christmas accessories have taken a hit, as people struggle to get hold of enough cash. Shop and stall owners said that sales of home decorations and accessories have been lower than usual this year.
“We have set up a stall since December ,1 but have not sold even half the material we usually used to sell in the last weekend of the festival,” said Divya Shetty, a Christmas accessories shop owner at Hill Road, Bandra.
People said that the lack of cash meant that they could not shop at the small shops and stalls. “This area is usually buzzing weeks before Christmas. Now, people have no change and we can’t render change for Rs2000 to every one. We are forced to send them back,” said Shawn Dcosta, an Orlem resident and a cake shop owner.
Other shop owners agreed. “They don’t know how much the (Christmas) festival means to us. We earned 30 rupees this year compared to every 100 last year,” said Charlie Perreira, another Orlem gift shop owner.
People formed long queues every day to get their share of cash, while the central bank changed directives almost every day. “Even if we want to, our spending powers have been taken from us, so we have to observe the festival rather than celebrate,” said Elria Fernandes, a Borivli IC Colony Resident and student. “We will sing carols and attend midnight mass, followed by lunch the next day,” she added.
People fear the decision would ruin the new year, as the deadline will stretch till March. The deadline to deposit money comes to a close on December 30.