Probably I had never stood in front of a bank for so long time. When I counted it was more than 15 hours in three days! Once I could only deposit but not withdraw, second time I got only Rs. 4000 which was not sufficient at all and the third time thankfully I got Rs. 10,000. But for my dismay all were Rs. 2000 notes and no bills of smaller denominations.

However I was ready to stand in the queue once again in front of an ATM to get cash with Rs. 100 denominations. The reason is simple. None of the persons standing in the queue was grumbling! None of them were by passing the queue. Rather they were telling each other that it’s just a matter of one or two weeks and they were ready to take that pain from the deepest of their hearts. They were cooperating with one another by informing which line is for depositing the amount into the account, which line is for withdrawing through cheque and which one for getting the bills exchanged! In order to pass the time during queue, they used to share stories like who paid how much to the bank, whose money was stashed and is of no use now and so on. There was a great enthusiasm among them with a feeling that they were serving the country to tackle biggest menace of black money.

It’s true and was anyways expected that for some days there will be difficulty in sufficing the cash needs oh the people. Because Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 formed 86% of the entire cash money supply of the country.  However, on the other hand, Indian banks received 2 trillion rupees ($29.8 billion) of cash within 4 – 5 days of the announcement by the Prime Minister.

According to the official statement of Ministry of Finance, “A total of over 7 crore transactions have taken place from 9th November upto mid-day of 12th November (i.e. in the last two and a half days) for deposit, exchange of old notes and withdrawal from ATM and over the counter. Old notes of Rs.500 and 1000 denominations amounting to about Rs. 2 lakh crores have been deposited to banks”.

Apart from bringing the money into the banking system and also under tax net, the action had other purpose too. The press release by Ministry of Finance says “One of the primary objectives of cancellation of legal tender character of old series of Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes was to check the menace of terror financing through counterfeit currency notes. The receipt of counterfeits/fake currency notes in Banks and Post Offices are, therefore, being monitored very closely”. This is very much achieved and visible on the ground. Since the move by government, Kashmir is staying peacefully and naxal affected areas are very peaceful which means they are hardly hit with government’s move and probably Prime Minister has tackled this problem in an innovative way and it’s effective much more than use of force since years together!

We all should agree that some people who had marriages and other functions at their houses or families faced little difficulty. However, larger chunk has benefited and common man (the real aam admi and not the political one) is very happy about the move. That means the bank note switch is working very well in India and we should feel proud about our Prime Minister for taking this bold step.


Akshara Damle