Here’s how disabled and elderly have suffered due to demonetisation

  • Dec 20 , 2016

In the wake of Prime Minister’s announcement that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes will be no longer legal tender, the rich , the poor, the elderly and the disabled have had many concerns. Elders have majorly suffered due to this. From problems to check-up, travel and trading have been affected to a great extent.

Image: hindustantimes

Problems faced by elderly and disabled due to demonetisation

Long standing in queues – Elders stood in serpentine queues for hours to exchange or deposit their spiked notes with new ones or withdraw cash to meet their daily expenses. Some of them were able to withdraw and deposit the amount, and some couldn’t get money even after standing for so long. The elderly have health problems and cannot stand in line for so long.

For instance, two elderly men standing in seemingly unending queues at banks suffered heart attacks and died in a tragic fallout of demonetisation of high-value currency notes as hassles continue to descend on ATMs and banks in droves leading to arguments.

A 69-year old man died in Madhya Pradesh after suffering a heart attack while standing in a queue to exchange demonetised currency notes outside the bank.

Don’t have bank accounts and valid id proof- Those who belong to rural areas do not have bank accounts or even valid ID proofs. It is difficult for them to exchange their old currency for new. Savings were their only source of earnings, needed to run daily expenses. In some areas there still are no ATMs, making it very difficult to meet expenses.

Lack of knowledge about debit or credit cards- People in metropolises or members of the young generation have knowledge and can use debit and credit cards for day-to-day expenses. But the elders or the disabled, many of whom do not use smartphones or internet, are finding the going very difficult. They cannot even order groceries, make payment for digital set-top box recharges and other online transactions. In many small towns, there is no way to do payment with the cards, as most payments are made by “accepting or depositing physical cash”.

Elders staying alone and no support- Elders whose children are staying abroad or not with them are facing several problems. They run day to day expenses and regular medical expenses through small savings. Parents suffering from ailments such as diabetes and hypertension do not have patience or willingness to stand at a bank for such a long time.

Cannot pay daily wages to the workers- Seniors who owned factories have suffered a lot, as common people who work for daily wages cannot get their wages due to currency demonetisation. Those working as employees in many companies faced immense trouble recently in receiving salaries. Many companies did not have enough funds to give to their employees, resulting in widespread anger. The withdrawal limit in certain banks is much below the RBI prescribed limit. For those who run businesses, paying their workers is an added stress along with personal expenses.

No drinking water and seating arrangement for elderly- With banks across the nation open through the weekend, people queued up to exchange their old currency or deposit cash. Unfortunately there were neither any seating arrangements nor drinking water for the elderly. This could have been critical for some.

However, all is not lost. Examples of banks such as SBI have really stood out, for having arranged seating arrangements and refreshments for elderly. Across all banks a day was given to only senior citizens for withdrawing or depositing money.