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The cashless ATM of Indian dreams!
Barefoot, hungry and shaken….I saw a working class woman wait for long hours outside a bank to exchange a Rs 1,000 bill that she had received as her monthly wage. Her little child aged hardly two years roamed between the queues desperately waiting for the mother's caressing love.

As she waited and waited consoling her little child, I realised the harsh reality of the country that I live in. The bank manager announced that all hundred rupee notes had finished and now only Rs 2,000 notes could be given. With perplexed eyes and a worried conscience she went ahead to say that all she had was Rs 1,000 …. Would she not be able to feed her child or sustain her home?

Through a step that was supposed to curb corruption and reveal the holders of black money, the ordinary people are suffering. I invite our honourable politicians to spend a day like most of us do. No matter how much we propagate about India become a digitalized nation or our economy turning into a cashless one, the reality is that most people in India do not even have a bank account even though they may have a smart phone.

Outside the metro cities where ATMs are in abundance, there are long distances between small towns where not one soul can be spotted, and much contrary to our dreams of becoming 'smart' cities or a 'super-power' nation, the local vegetable vendor or the milk man does not accept payment by card or even the much popular 'PayTM', and for most of us they are an integral part of our daily lives.

I stood for five hours in a line where the general crowd was confused and felt harassed by a rule that was forcefully enforced at a time when the nation's banks were not even prepared. While it is acknowledged that this step may help to bring under control corruption and black money, we cannot ignore the many mechanisms that have emerged to counter the move.

The bank note mafia  that turns 'black' money into 'white' in a matter of minutes has already relieved many, but for the salaried class and especially for those who have retained their honesty by paying regular taxes and limiting investments are found standing and struggling outside banks . It pains me to learn that a 73-year-old man even lost his life standing in a queue outside a bank in a Mumbai suburb after having to wait tremendously long. 

It is ironic that any good initiative that is introduced in the public domain to deal with a problem that genuinely affects all our lives, is often made in such a way that some cunning/influential individuals always discover a way to evade it while ordinary people suffer the brunt of it.

The vice-president of Congress Rahul Gandhi stood in the line with the common people outside an ATM on Parliament Street in Delhi, sharing their worries and interacting with the people. While after 45 minutes of standing in the queue he left with the desired cash, what happened to the 'aam aadmi' whose concerns he had claimed to share?

For the five long hours that I spent in the massive queue I was ashamed to witness that not one 'suit-boot' person shared the space.  I saw many young people take a selfie with the new note in their hand; paradoxically the new note too shows the sparkle in Gandhi's visionary eyes. I wonder where we are going as a nation and what the future holds for us, when a poor mother has nothing to feed her child and an old grandfather dies waiting in a queue. Where are the politicians who gave us beautiful dreams and left us helpless under the debris of currency that no longer works?

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