Monday, Sep 26, 2022
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Cause Over Convenience

How urban India is coping with the sudden cashless break

Cashless In Chawri Bazaar Photograph by Jitender Gupta

In the backseat of a black-and-yellow taxi in New Delhi Railway Station, a driver is lying down with his arms folded behind his head. You can’t see his face in the darkness, but he is a man much in demand today. He has already saved the day for several travellers left stranded without tenderable cash. “I’ll give you Rs 400 for your Rs 500, and Rs 700 for Rs 1,000. At Chandni Chowk, Rs 1,000 is going for Rs 600,” he says. “A lot of passengers have no other option.”

Gauging the reactions to demonetisation in Sadar Bazaar and Ajmeri Gate area, Old Delhi’s hub of small traders, reveals a clear class divide. Despite the gloom due to lack of business, a big section of the shop-­owners and traders—said to be the BJP’s traditional vote-bank and trading in hardware, construction material, house-fittings, wedding stationery and kitchen utensils—seemed to be largely supportive of the government’s move, unlike the rickshaw pullers, daily wage workers, migrants and customers in urgent need of cash.

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