After six months of battling the cash crunch, the sluggish market and slowdown in business, Noida is slowly regaining normalcy even as Monday marked six months of the demonetisation exercise.
On the evening of November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invalidated the notes of ₹1,000 and ₹500. Citizens were given time to exchange their old notes with new currencies.
This move was aimed at curbing corruption by flushing out ‘black money’ from the economy.
Like rest of India, Noida too suffered the demonetisation blues as a majority of the banks and ATMs were left cashless and businesses suffered due to lack of currency flow.
However, six months on, the city is slowly recovering from the after-effects of demonetisation as cash flow has regained consistency and residents are adapting to cashless systems.
HT analyses the impact the move had on Noida and how residents are faring after six months.
While most of the ATMs in busy market places of Noida have been replenished with cash, there were a few kiosks that are still not working.
“I usually withdraw cash from ATM kiosks in Jaipuria market at Sector 27 and Ganga market in Sector 29. Mostly all kiosks in these areas have cash. However, there are still a few ATMs that are not working. But long queues have disappeared,” said Amit Kumar, a resident of Sector 37.
Cash flow in banks is also back to normal and Vijay Srivastava, lead bank manager of Gautam Budh Nagar, claims that he has not received any complaints regarding cash crunch of late.
“We have not received any complaint of cash crunch from any of the ATMs and bank branches in Noida. The ATMs that are still not working in the city might be suffering from technical glitches and it has nothing to do with cash crunch,” Srivastava said.
Noida industrialists, entrepreneurs and labourers claim that demonetisation has affected them the most as many have been rendered jobless post the exercise.
According to Noida Entrepreneurs Association, over 9,000 industries are functioning out of Noida Phase I, II, III and Greater Noida and they cumulatively employ over six lakh workers.
Entrepreneurs claim that the situation has improved in the manufacturing sector as it is more organised compared to the construction industry, which, according to them, has suffered the most.
“Demonetisation was targeted at corruption but its side-effects were borne by the industry sector in Noida that suffered due to cash crunch. We saw hundreds of migrant wage earners returning to their native villages after they were rendered jobless,” said Vipin Malhan, president, Noida Entrepreneurs Association.
“However, things have started to improve as more than 70%-80% workforce in the manufacturing industry has returned to factories. However, daily wage earners continue to suffer as the construction industry has still not recovered,” he said.
Daily wage labourers claim that several migrants have not yet returned to Noida post demonetisation.
“After ‘note bandi’, our livelihood was cut short as there were no opportunities in the market. Many of my friends have not returned from their villages. A few have changed their field of work. The situation has still not improved,” said Jogesh, a daily wage labourer from Bihar.
Businessmen are all praises of the Union government for taking a bold step like demonetisation as they believe that their overall business has increased in recent times due to a surge in digital payment.
“Business has returned to normal after six months of demonetisation and, now, we are seeing a potential of growth which is even bigger than what it was before note bandi. People now have multiple options to pay, which has resulted in an increase in the number of customers,” said SK Jain, president, Sector 18 market association.
However, businessmen and traders also believe that the number of complex rules introduced by the government post demonetisation has affected their business.
“Our only cause of worry was the number of rules, which were introduced post demonetisation. However, the real test would be when Goods and Services Tax is implemented as only that can reveal whether the demonetisation has helped us or cost us our livelihood,” Jain said.
Customers also said they have started relying on both digital and cash payments after November 8.
“Many shops are now accepting credit/debit cards and digital wallet payments. Therefore, it’s easier for us to pay at shops,” said Atul Sharma, a resident of Sector 37.