25 September, 2020

Shocked, Awed, Stuck In Cash Limbo

For the Indian marketplace, shaking off the cash chain is easier said than done as almost nothing moves without it

No Takers
A market in Calcutta
Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
Shocked, Awed, Stuck In Cash Limbo

Thousands of traders and manufacturers across the country are grappling with the Rs 50,000 weekly limit on cash withdrawals ordered by the government in the wake of the demonetisation chaos. And it’s nothing short of a nightmare for many. A peek into the informal sector—the best one can manage considering its size—shows most of them are neither familiar with the world of digital transactions nor find it convenient. And surely, that’s not what they desired. Many fear the tight flow of cash may well cripple their business if the money supply is not eased soon.

On its part, the government, in its des­ire to promote digital transactions, has removed a big hurdle—albeit temporarily—by doing away with service charges on debit card and smartphone transactions. But this move may not be enough to help the traders, contractors and small industries—all part of the informal sector that accounts for 45 per cent of India’s GDP and over 80 per cent of the workforce—resume normal operations.

The near-desolate look in large...



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