Even after a month of the demonetisation announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, residents continue to reel under the crisis. The demonetisation has affected every section of the city, including industries, shops, professionals, non-professionals and house helps; from employees to employers, everyone has been hit hard. Noida houses more than 8,000 industrial units, employing more than six lakh people.
Residents had hoped that the situation would improve in four to five days after the announcement, but, it did not happen.
On November 17, the Confederation of National Capital Region Residents’ Welfare Association (CONRWA) wrote to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley about how people in Noida felt harassed as they spent long hours in queues outside banks and ATMs, yet, returned home empty-handed. Conrwa was the first to demand a system to regularise withdrawals with an equal opportunity as it was observed that bank staff were favouring people.
“The banks should have issued tokens to fewer people as per the availability of cash in ATMs and branches so that they wouldn’t have wasted time by standing in queues,” said PS Jain, president of Conrwa.
A week later, the Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) offered residents a ‘doorstep facility’ to withdraw Rs10,000 a day, provided they opened savings accounts. More than 300 people registered for the scheme through on-site camps. IDFC executives could be seen persuading residents and RWAs to help arrange camps in various sectors.
After a fortnight, city entrepreneurs realised that the situation will not improve and associations, such as NEA, NIWA and IIAN, expressed concerns over the continued cash crunch, causing harassment and affecting their daily affairs.
Following a nation-wide demand, the government raised the cap on withdrawal from Rs24,000 to Rs50,000 from cash credit accounts; however, banks are not giving the promised amounts to entrepreneurs these days.
The city industries witnessed a 20% to 30% dip. “It has badly affected the production and we are still struggling to cope up with the situation. We wrote to the PM on November 23 expressing our concerns. The situation remains difficult and people are losing all hopes and resentments are high,” said Vipin Malhan, president of NEA.
The city’s business owners also joined the chorus and raised their concerns.
“We tried to pay our employees through Paytm and other digital modes, but it didn’t go down well as many of the employees are not comfortable with cashless transactions and not convenient for many,” said Sushil Kumar Jain, district president of Vyapar Mandal, Gautam Budh Nagar.
Last week, the situation turned chaotic with payday (December 6) as employees were unable to withdraw cash from the banks.
Gautam Budh Nagar lead bank manager AK Singh said, “The cash crunch will continue for a day or two, but the situation will improve from Monday. The banks had arranged for adequate cash keeping salary withdrawals in mind. But the crowd that turned up was beyond our expectations. The banks are trying to get more cash from RBI. We request people to not hoard money.”
District magistrate Gautam Budh Nagar, NP Singh, held a meeting with the lead bank manager and managers of nationalized banks and has sought a report.