Veg Shops by card, Queues at ATMs, 25 Deaths as India struggles to cope

New Delhi, Nov 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that it will take another 50 days for normalization of currency usage in the country. As the government refused to consider a rollback, another report says currency normalisation may in fact take four months, and not 50 days as the government claims. So far, 25 deaths have been attributed to demonetisation.

As hard cash becomes scarce more people have resorted to plastic money. This has put enormous pressure on the payments’ ecosystem which was seamlessly handling only a fraction of the crowd than what it is handling now.

Bankers say work on recalibration of ATMs for new currency notes had begun, but it would take more than a week to cover a substantial part of the network. Cash management companies reported filling up ATMs had been affected because bank staff were under pressure at branches.

An Economic Times report says traders in Delhi are contemplating shuttering their operations in a few days if there is no respite from the cash crunch, which has triggered a payment crisis and sparked heated arguments between farmers, who are offering perishables at half to one-third the price that prevailed last week, and traders, who don’t have legal cash to pay.

Cash-strapped people started making beelines outside ATMs from early morning but with limited success as most of cash vending machines are running dry. Scuffles and heated exchanges were reported from ATMs and banks from many parts of the city, as patience of harried citizens wore thin.

Image: A Facebook post by Prasanna D Mudubage shows a vegetable vendor willing to accept debit or credit card payments. The authenticity of the picture has not been verified.