Many have lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's currency demonetisation, while many have also criticised it for its shoddy implementation and myopic economics.
Following the announcement, people have been flocking to ATMs and banks to withdraw new notes or to exchange the old denominations in their possession. According to reports and social media posts, people have been camping outside banks and ATMs since as early as 4 am.
Daily life has turned topsy-turvy for many, specially those from financially weaker sections of society. In the middle of all the chaos and the deaths following demonetisation, some people have gone beyond the call of duty to help those in distress in the queues outside ATMs and banks.
Here are some instances when people decided to help absolute strangers:
1. A hospital in Ranchi treated patients who did not have cash free of cost for two days.
Soon after the announcement, a hospital in Ranchi decided to do its bit by providing free treatment to people who did not have cash. Stating that saving lives was a priority, the Vinayka Hospital and Research Centre provided free treatment from 10-13 November.
2. Employees of a fast food company visited people standing in queues in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and offered food and water for free.
Employees of fast food giant, Pizza Hut, visited some banks in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi and distributed pizza and water to people stuck in queues for free. Some people might search for some kind of ulterior motive in the gesture but as of now, famished people stuck in these unending queues are welcoming the free pizzas.
3. A hotel in Tamil Nadu offered free food to people who only had old notes.
Hotel Sri Balaij in Tamil Nadu offered free food to people who were stuck with discontinued notes. They also offered their patrons the option of paying later. The management took this decision after many customers had to go back because they were unable to pay.
4. In Mangalore, a Sikh man distributed free food to travellers with the help of volunteers at the city railway station.
When he saw the inconvenience travellers were going through during the currency crunch, Balvinder Singh Virdi asked for help from his community members. Around 20 people showed up and they started distributing free food at the city railway station. Apparently 2,000 people were served on Sunday.
5. Retired people came out to put in a few hours of work to help bank employees.
When Namita Lahkar, an ex-bank employee from Guwahati went to deposit money, she saw the rush and realised that it would be impossible for the bank officials to manage by themselves. So, she decided to give them a pair of helping hands. Another retired employee of the Punjab National Bank came and helped bank officials get through the trying days.
6. Police officers went beyond their call of duty and helped people by offering them water in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
7. Residents are helping bank employees who are working overtime with bedding and food in Mumbai.
A post on Facebook mentioned that officials at a neighbourhood bank called up residents asking for some blankets because their own homes were too far. The employees were not only helped with blankets but with food as well.
8. Members of the Sikh community were helping people stuck in queues with free food and tea in Punjab.
In yet another instance, people were distributing free food and tea to people standing in queues.
9. A church in Kerala opened two of its donation boxes for people who attended mass.
During the mass, a priest in a church in Ernakulam announced that the donation boxes will be kept open for a day and people in need could take as much money as required. The priest mentioned that around 200 families made use of this facility.