The masterstroke announced at 8 PM on the evening of 8th November was played out by the PM Narendra Modi in a bid to root out black money, corruption and parallel economy. All in all, the entire media has applauded this move, especially Arnab Goswami of Times Now, who was vocal in support of the Prime Minister. Baba Ramdev, one of the champions of eradicating the source of black money in India also lauded the move and called it a very effective tool to root out corruption. Overall, the voices in the media have hailed this as a surgical strike on black money and our PM is getting used to surgical strikes after dealing with Pakistan. He is now dealing with the monster in the house calling black money a tool used by terrorist outfits to create more havoc in the country. He said the move was necessary and asked the people to support it to ensure a smooth transfer to new Rs. 2000 and Rs. 500 notes, both, with smart chip technology so that they can be traced.
So what does it mean for me and you, the travel junkies? Well, it depends on how one uses money. I do most of my hotel, airline, cab and other bookings online or through the IVR on my phone. I use cards and internet banking to pay my vendors or utility bills including my phone bill. So more than 80% of my transactions are done without the requirement of cash. Even for shopping like clothes or consumer durables, I make the payment electronically. A big boost will be given to payment gateways, e-cash, Paytm and other electronic modes of money transfer. We will be taking one more step towards a cashless economy which is great.
But you need cash for paying the autowala, buying a pack of cigarettes, a magazine from the stand or other such nik naks. I believe Delhi metro stopped accepting Rs 500 notes and the commuters had to suffer a bit. There were even queues outside banks and ATMs. I am sure Travellers who are doing religious travels to places like Vaishno Devi, Amarnath and Char Dham will also be in for a tough time as most tour and taxi operators on these routes accept only cash. Religious donations on the spot will also get hit as people will have less cash in their pockets. I wonder what will happen to all the cash that is donated in our various temples and religious Institutions. It may be rotting right now. In many states, people have created a bonfire with their money as they see it turn into dust in front of their very eyes. Crores were wiped out of the stock markets within minutes and for the first time, I realised how worthless money actually is.
Paisa Kitna Amurththa.
We realise that, ultimately, money is also worthless. We are the ones who give it value and power over us.