BB Singal, a businessman from Sector 10 in Panchkula, was taken by surprise when his wife Ritu told him that she needed to deposit Rs 30,000 savings as most of it was in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes which the government pulled out of circulation last Tuesday.
He was not aware that Ritu had been secretly saving from the household expenditure for some time. Ritu (49), a housewife, says she had saved the money from what she got for shopping, buying vegetables and as gifts.
She has been investing in kitty schemes also. “My husband kept asking till the last minute if I had more. He was surprised. On Friday, we both went to the bank and got deposited the money in my account. I am feeling relieved now,” she said.
“My savings are not black money. I welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision. Even if we carry out whitewashing at home, we make adjustments for a couple of days. People also stand in queue outside places of worship for hours,” she said.
But Babli of Sector 15 does have a bank account as she always relied on her husband, a shopkeeper in Manimajra, for money.
“I had been saving from purchases of vegetables and daily items and gifts. I had saved close to Rs 15,000 in the past four years,” she said.
She was standing outside the Allahabad Bank branch on Sunday to exchange the money with Rs 100, Rs 500 denomination banknotes. But there was no separate queue for women despite the administration’s directions.
“This is the third bank I have approached. They are telling us that they are out of cash. Where shall I go?” she said.
Another Sector-15 Priya Rani urgently needed cash for shopping to attend a wedding. “The Corporation Bank exchanged only `2,000 as it went out of cash. Now, I have come to Allahabad Bank but I am facing the same issue here.”
Priya had also saved close to Rs 15,000 in savings at home over the years. “I don’t have an account or ATM. Banks are not attending properly for exchange of currency,” she said.
“After the Prime Minister declared high currency notes as invalid, my wife came to me with a sad face disclosing her savings to me,” said Dr Kalia, a Chandigarh-based private practitioner. “To my surprise she had saved Rs 1.5 lakh. I didn’t know how to react. I have promised her that I will get the money exchanged,” he said.
“I had been saving the money for more than a year. I was taken aback when I heard the news. I had no option but to disclose my secret savings to my husband,” his wife said.
Rama Walia, a housewife from Sector 27, had chosen not to open any bank account despite repeated advice of her in-laws. “I never wanted to disclose my savings to my husband or in-laws but Modi’s decision left me with no other option,” she said.
“I always refused whenever my husband asked for money. But I felt very embarrassed when I handed over `10,000 to him,” she said.
Rama has now decided to open a bank account.