14/11/2016 1:50 PM IST | Updated 15/11/2016 8:41 AM IST

6 Ways To Lessen The Cash Crisis For Fellow Indians


Danish Siddiqui / Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetization of ₹500 and ₹1000 notes was a bold move, representing a new start for India, a time to re-boot, a time for us to change our country for the better.

Yes, the suddenness of the move has caught many of us with little or no spending money in our pockets, and a feeling of insecurity, but many agree that this is a great move for India, with a potential for wide-ranging impact—from ending terror-funding to demolishing the stacks of black money stashed away by a few. This surgical strike against black money is what India needed.

This was a much needed move for India's economy, so some short-term adjustments will lead to long-term gain for all.

The Reserve Bank of India has assured the people that "enough cash will be available" and has urged the public "to exercise patience and to exchange notes at their convenience."

We at Delhipedia believe that this is an ideal time for all Indians to unite. This is one fight that we all must shoulder together while supporting each other. Here's how we can help others less fortunate than us tide over the short period of inconvenience.

1) Be generous with your small notes

It is time that we all stand by each other. If you have a decent stash of notes of 100s, 50s, 20s,10s, help your friends, neighbours, staff at home and in office, local and small vendors and others who need help. Loan them some money to help them get them through the next few days. If you're reading this you probably have a credit and/or debit card, unlike many others who do not. For them it might be much more stressful to fund their normal day-to-day needs.

Be mindful. It's always better to cut down your expenses on things that you don't need (or pay for them online) and instead lend cash to someone you know who needs it more. This is one time where a few hundred rupee notes are more valuable than a stack of 500s used to be!

2) Make depositing/changing money easier for others

Now is the time to be a Good Samaritan and help elderly, ill or disabled neighbours and family members who are finding it difficult to withstand the long queues. You can lend a hand by taking an authorization letter, together with attested photocopies or their ID proof and help them change the permissible amounts of money.

Remember, if you have the time to access the current banking system, then make the effort, wake up early, reach the bank as it opens. The queues are long, and an early start could get you at the front of the lines. Carry "old" notes (up to ₹4500 as of now) and exchange them. Do remember to carry a valid photo ID with a photocopy.

3) Share your knowledge

There may be people around you who may not be as educated on the subject as you are. Help them by teaching them the process of getting notes exchanged. Help your domestic help, drivers, and guards to better understand the situation. Listen to their problems as this affects them the most, given that most people in the informal sectors deal with cash and usually have no bank accounts. In the next few weeks, once the pressure on the banks is resolved please do help them and other workers or vendors to open bank accounts; ideally, help them get a debit card.

4) Help people get free meals

Remember that most gurudwaras in Delhi (as elsewhere) run free "Guru ka langar" on a daily basis, offering freshly cooked food throughout the day—this service is always open to everyone. Please do share this information with people who you feel, in the present scenario, may for lack of ready cash in their pockets not be able to afford a meal. You too can contribute to the free kitchen by donating atta, salt, cooking oil and pulses to support them in their noble cause.

5) Support the underprivileged and homeless

Since Diwali, while all of Delhi faces a crisis of smog, and now the disappearance of ready currency, the plight of the homeless and the destitute is worse. The underprivileged patients in the government hospitals and their families are particularly vulnerable. Here are a few easy ways where you can help out. Whenever you leave home, please carry the following items which you can donate to anyone who may be in need.

(a) Basic groceries—a packet of bread, butter and a milk pouch could do wonders as food is a basic necessity for everyone. Think of the homeless and their children... in the absence of ready cash, they are the ones who are hit hard. You can also consider donating raw vegetables, pulses, dry rations to the homeless.

(c) Pollution masks, since the homeless spend most of the time in the open, and face the risk of getting a lung infection and other respiratory problems. So whenever you purchase pollution masks for your family members, please do consider getting few extra for those who can't afford them.

(d) Medical supplies. You might have unused medicines at home—donate these to a charitable hospitals nearby.

4) If you run a grocery store or small business, offer credit options to your regular customers as they, like you, are suffering the effects of the currency crisis.

5) E-wallets like Paytm or MobiKwik, among others, are useful to have. They can help you pay for autorickshaws, groceries and other basics. Sign up for one yourself if you haven't already and also help your staff at home/office to get an account and understand how to use it. It is easy to set up and can make a big difference.

6) Show consideration at banks

Bank employees are working round the clock to make life easier for us. Yes, the queues are long, but please be patient and don't add to a chaotic situation. Be sensitive towards the elderly who may need assistance while waiting in queues.

This was a much needed move for India's economy, so some short-term adjustments will lead to long-term gain for all.

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