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People Struggle to Pay for Daily Essentials after Invalidation of Large Currency Notes: A Bid to crack down Corruption by PM Narendra Modi

The shopkeepers and vendors are refusing to accept large currency notes

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Indian currency. Flickr

November 9, 2016: Tens of thousands of people struggled in paying for daily essentials on Wednesday, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi invalidated the large currency notes of Rs 500 and 1,000 in a bid to crack down on unaccounted wealth, corruption and terror financing.

The impact of the decision was evident as shopkeepers refused to accept the large currency notes available with common people mostly to serve their daily cash requirements, in a country where almost all ATMs would largely disburse mostly Rs 500 or 1,000 bills.

According to Reserve Bank of India data, Rs 17,54,000 crore worth of currency is in circulation in the country, out of which 45 per cent is accounted for by Rs 500 notes and 39 per cent for Rs 1,000 notes.
[bctt tweet=”Rs 16,32,000 crore worth of currency stands demonetized after the government’s Tuesday midnight shocker.” username=””]

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In other words, Rs 16,32,000 crore worth of currency stands demonetized after the government’s Tuesday midnight shocker. Of course, a large proportion of this would be with the banks reducing the amount in circulation.

Chaos reigned at petrol pumps, tourist places and toll plazas across India as outlets were running out of smaller bills, hampering the effort of consumers to buy anything that cost less than Rs 500 or Rs 1,000, even though many outlets were legally allowed to accept the big notes for 72 hours.

Sachin Chaudhary said he wanted to buy vegetables. The married MNC employee in Delhi carried Rs 100 notes and was confident of not facing any hiccups.

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“But the vendor refused. He said he had not been able to buy vegetables from the wholesale market for lack of enough smaller notes,” Chaudhary told IANS, sharing his early morning predicament.

The government on Tuesday announced that Rs 500 and 1,000 notes would be accepted at petrol pumps, milk booths run by the government and also to buy medicines.

But that didn’t help as chaos reigned at milk booths with people making a mad rush to the outlets to get change for the large bills.

“The government should have provided us with adequate change, especially 100 rupee notes, before implementing such a big decision,” Brij Bhushan Tiwari, a Delhi petrol pump owner, told IANS.

Mamata Jha, a 60-year-old diabetic patient, went to buy some medicine, hoping that chemists would easily accept the large currency notes.

But she came in for a rude shock when she was told by a chemist in north Delhi that he could not render her Rs 150 change from a Rs 1,000 note.

“My medicine costs 850 rupees. The chemist handed me over a written slip for 150 rupees saying it can be exchanged for some medicine whenever I wanted to buy it. I refused and he said he was also helpless,” Jha told IANS.

There were complaints that some small traders and shop owners were using the opportunity to mint extra money.

Some of the small general and provisional stores are charging Rs 50-100 from customers for accepting Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

In Koklata, Agra and other places, tourists and traders from various countries seem hard hit by the acute cash crisis. For foreign buyers, the problem has been compounded since all banks and ATM cubicles were closed on Wednesday.

Foreign tourists visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra had a tough time when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) refused to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as entry fee.

ASI chief Bhuvan Vikram told IANS: “There’s little that we can do. We have displayed the government order on the ticket windows. It is a government policy. How can we help?”

A tourist from from the US, Liza, 29, asked: “This is no way and what is our fault?”

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In Mumbai, all daily cash transactions choked up as people experienced the first impact of the decision after frantically running about to secure change for Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as three-wheeler drivers and cabbies refused to accept these.

The wholesale fresh fruits and vegetables market in Navi Mumbai experienced piling up of perishable goods as most wholesalers turned up with the banned currency notes.

“We are asking the banks to allow us to accept these notes and cooperate in exchanging them later. Failing this huge quantities of fresh goods which came from farms will perish and the farmers and traders could incur losses worth crores of rupees,” said an official.

A similar story was repeated in several other parts of the country. (IANS)

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi Stresses Cooperative Federalism for Ganga Rejuvenation

The meeting was attended by Union Ministers for Jal Shakti, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, Urban Affairs, Power, Tourism, Shipping, and the Chief Ministers of UP and Uttarakhand, the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, the Vice-Chairman of the Niti Aayog and other senior officials

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the River Ganga rejuvenation should be an example of cooperative federalism and it has been a long-pending challenge.

The Prime Minister made this observation at the first meeting of the National Ganga Council in Kanpur, UP, on Saturday. The meeting was aimed at reinforcing the importance of a Ganga-centric approach in all departments of the states concerned as well as relevant central ministries.

He also asked for formation of a digital dashboard where data from villages and urban bodies would be monitored on a daily basis by the Niti Ayog and the Ministry of Jal Shakti. All districts bordering Ganga should be made a focus area for monitoring efforts under the Namami Gange project, he said.

Modi said a lot had been accomplished since the government took up ‘Namami Gange’ in 2014 as a comprehensive initiative, integrating various government efforts and activities, with the aim of reducing pollution, and conservation and rejuvenation of Ganga.

Notable achievements had been zero waste creation by paper mills and reduction in pollution from tanneries, he said and added, but a lot was required to be done.

River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river.
River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river. Wikimedia Commons

The Prime Minister emphasised that improvement would require full cooperation from the public at large and greater awareness through dissemination of best practices from cities situated along the banks of national rivers.

“For the first time, the central government has made a commitment of Rs 20,000 crore for 2015-20 to the five states through which Ganga passes, to ensure adequate as well as uninterrupted water flow. Rs 7,700 crore has been spent, prominently for construction of new sewage treatment plants,” said a government statement.

Prime Minister also urged for a holistic thinking process where ‘Namami Gange’ would evolved into ‘Arth Ganga’ or a sustainable development model with a focus on economic activities related to Ganga.

Also Read: Chinese Scientists Reveal Distribution History of Endangered Trees

“As part of this process, farmers should be encouraged to engage in sustainable agriculture practices, including zero budget farming, planting of fruit trees and building plant nurseries along the banks of Ganga. Priority could be given to women self-help groups and ex-servicemen organisations for these programmes,” it added.

The meeting discussed tapping the hybrid tourism potential of the river basin area for religious and adventure tourism. “The income generated from encouraging eco-tourism and Ganga wildlife conservation and cruise tourism would help generate sustainable income streams for cleaning of Ganga,” the government said.

The meeting was attended by Union Ministers for Jal Shakti, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, Urban Affairs, Power, Tourism, Shipping, and the Chief Ministers of UP and Uttarakhand, the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, the Vice-Chairman of the Niti Aayog and other senior officials. (IANS)