No Money, Not Funny!

Waiting for Cash

During the first few days of “demonetization” we were all patient and thought that this disruption would pass. Most of us, myself included, had never heard of the term but in light of what was happening, it didn’t take long to comprehend its meaning. It meant that most of the money in our pockets was worthless.

It’s been one month since Prime Minister, Narendra Modi ,announced this surprise (attack) on a nation that relies on a cash economy, upsetting a lot of apple carts in the process. Over night the bills that were the most common were now illegal and not accepted anywhere. The bills that were still legal tender were in short supply and still are. The banks and ATMs closed for 24 hours. Most of us thought that with in 10 days or so, the new notes would be in circulation and business would get back to normal.The wheels turn extra slowly in India. It’s hard to imagine that the economy of a country of 1.3 billion people would just stop but it did just that.

It has been a disaster. No one has any money for basic survival unless you are rich. It is such a complicated story. I am hardly in a position to explain it or to fully understand it but I think that it was a big mistake. It is an attempt to curb black money and counterfeiting and to push the country into a cashless direction that they are not ready for.

It’s been a month and the new 500 rupee notes are still not in circulation. Most ATMs aren’t operating. A few fill up and within a half an hour are empty and there’s been a limit of 2,500 rupees that you can withdraw daily. No banks are exchanging any foreign currency period.

No special facilities or allowances have been made for foreign tourists. Can you imagine arriving at the airport in India on your long awaited holiday in early November,  only to be informed after waiting in a very long line that you can’t change more than $50.00?  Enter the money changers who are eager to change your foreign currency if you were  clever enough to have brought any with you and give you  a very unfavorable rate of exchange. Black money lives on and proliferates!

Here are a few comments by a prominent American professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, Pranab Bardhan, …demonetization…”it cannot make much of a dent in the long – term problem of corruption or  black money. …..Most business people  do not keep their black income under a mattress. They keep it in the form of gold, real estate, commodity stocks and offshore accounts. Of course, they keep some amount in cash for various current transaction needs but I doubt it’s more than a very tiny percentage of total black money.”

We are all waiting, watching and hoping this mess will end soon. With it all, I am still loving India and managing to thoroughly enjoy myself. I don’t need a lot of money but I worry about how I am going to pay for this and that.  Credit card payment is not in wide use-yet!

Next post will be more aesthetic, I promise.







About ninagrandiose

I am based in NYC but travel regularly to India and Mexico. Both of these countries feel like home. In India I scour the country in search of fabulous textiles to incorporate into my clothing designs. I sit back and let the ambiance and wonder of India seep into my consciousness so I can be inspired to write about what India is for me. I bring a limited number of people to India on exclusive and intimate tours of my favorite hangouts. In Mexico I take in the natural beauty that surrounds me and dance the night away. I constantly give thanks for all this and am pleased to share it all with you.
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10 Responses to No Money, Not Funny!

  1. Can’t begin to imagine how harrowing this must be. Wishing you the best as you wait for the situation to sort itself out.

  2. Anu M says:

    I totally sympathise- especially difficult if one is in a foreign country. Hope it gets back to some semblance of normality soon.

    • ninagrandiose says:

      I wrote a reply to you but accidentally it was published as a post. Am doing this on my mobile which I never use for blogging.

  3. I am glad I am not in India. This is outrageous!

    • ninagrandiose says:

      Outrageous is the perfect word! It amazes me how accepting the people are of this imposition and extraordinary hardship they must endure to get their hard earned money!

      • Somehow, this bearded fraud had worked a charm on most people – the so-called ‘highly-educated’ among them! Wonder what he will irreparably damage in the next 30 months!

  4. ninagrandiose says:

    I’m with you on this. Modi is viewed as another one of India’s many gods…very dangerous. Will the public wake up?

  5. Am sure they will. Hopefully, key state elections in the next two months will be an indication of what’s yo come!

  6. Estliana says:

    Nice article. We all have to look forward to a new world of currency as the world’s currencies are all busy collapsing. must look at Gold and Bitcoin

    • ninagrandiose says:

      Thank you, Estliana. The alleged motivation for all of this was to eliminate black money and corruption which the average person was glad to support at first. Instead, it fostered them. So Modi used the situation to promote the cashless society which India isn’t ready for-yet. A new world is on its way but who and how it is going to be paid for is the next chapter in this thriller!

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