From the perspective of a college student, the path forward from the landmark verdict of demonetisation was bleak with flickering lights and a hazy future. Here is how students were affected by the remarkable judgment last year.

It has been a year since the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, passed the historic judgment of demonetising INR 500 and INR 1000 notes from circulation. Besides sparking countless memes and attracting criticism from all four corners, the judgment is most infamously known for the disturbance it created in the everyday lives of the Indian denizens. As Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) marks 8th November as the Anti-Black Money Day, we retrospect to determine how demonetisation affected the daily routines of the students of the University of Delhi (DU). The chaos and mayhem it inflicted on the student community can only be suitably answered by the very people who were most affected by it.

Outstation students were adversely hit out of the student lot as they did not have any financial backing like the rest of the day scholars did. Apart from the inconvenience it caused in day-to-day expenses that toppled everyone’s budgets, DU hostellers and PG renters had a harrowing time. Landlords and PG owners demanded rent that time round, and many students were left scaffolding for the newest currency they could get in their hands. Kinjal Pandey, a student of Daulat Ram College, added, “My PG friends and I tried to wake up at 5 a.m. in the morning in the hopes that we would be able to stand ahead in the ATM line. Every day at least 8-9 girls would wake up early and go out at dawn in order to stand in the ATM line.”

Furthermore, since this happened towards the end of the odd semester with end semester exams approaching, many wasted their precious time standing in long queues to no avail. Students were seen standing, studying in lines for hours as the transaction limit was restricted to INR 2,000 per day. That left many to resort to alternative sources like borrowing from home or from unrecognised money lenders. At a time when most transactions were conducted in cash, many students did not have checkbooks and were not as well-equipped to manage one’s finances digitally. Budgets were disrupted and limits were increased manifold to counter the urgency of the situation.

A year since this debacle, the verdict has been mixed. Whether it was a hit or a miss is a completely different lead to follow.


Image Credits: DNA India

Image Caption: The demotisation of INR 500 and 1000 notes last year adversely affected outstation DU students.


Vijeata Balani

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While an ambitious project in itself, the digitisation scheme of the current government is too far-fetched to be completed by 2019, without getting the basics of a fast and efficient cross-country wifi network in place first.

2016 truly gave India a chance to revamp the global lexicon. We came up with our own brand early on—‘Digital India’—and followed it up in the same breath with the inclusion of hefty words such as ‘demonetisation’ and ‘digitisation’. It is all tied to global stardom for the country, a power from above assures us. All this while we fret over our obsolete smartphones and try to find a way out of the maze of payment-related apps being launched every day. The whole of it (constantly amplified by news channels as a fiasco) takes place against the backdrop of Reliance’s Jio confidently announcing the rollback of its free wifi services post March, 2017. India is well and truly on the global platform now. It just has a slight limp.

The premise of digitisation rests singularly on our access to fast and affordable wifi connectivity. While Eastern Europe and countries like Lithuania boast of some of the highest broadband speeds, South Korea passed the hundred per cent wifi penetration mark way back in 2012. These are significant red blinkers for India. It still considers any modest speed above 512 kbps to be ‘broadband’. In other countries, this speed is as high as 10 to 50 mbps. However, an increase in speed and connectivity cannot be achieved overnight. It will involve a complete renovation of the cross-country network of expensive optic fibre pipes which haul the bits and in turn provide the speed. The demand is not just for ‘free’ wifi but efficient wifi.

CP has turned out to be the prime example of things going awry for a scheme which aspires to connect over 2,00,000 villages by 2019. The ground reality is mired in municipality disputes. Despite floating tenders multiple times, the authorities have not heard from respondents for a project which would have made the high-end hangout hub a fully wifi-enabled zone. For now, it’s back to expensive data packs for those of us who can splurge two hundred bucks a month for basic speed. For others, at the moment, even the thought of shelling out a four figure sum for a mobile phone sounds like a nightmare.

Image Credits: Postbazaar.in

Deepannita Misra

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Demonetization conjures images of almost every issue related to overpopulation – insanely long queues, the inevitable loss of livelihood, the few deaths, the many problems of penury and even creates a long standing love for the humble 100 rupee note. However, ironically the one thing that doesn’t come to mind is the fact that our economy is being weeded of black money (myth or fact, ‘who knows’ which ultimately leads to the stage of ‘who cares’). Well, no fear for Paytm is here – at the risk of sounding like a very cheesy advertisement with the long somber sound of “Paytm Karo”, I give you reasons why Paytm is truly a lifesaving hack. I mean. Truly!

I know most of us think of this as a rather taxing procedure but once you’ve managed to add money to your account, you’re sorted. I discovered Paytm when Delhi University recently postponed the GE examination from the 12th to the 13th December, I had no option but to reschedule my flight. With skyhigh rates and six thousand already down the drain, Paytm was kind enough to offer me a ticket for only Rs. 5000, a day before and with cashback!

It doesn’t stop here, you can book movie tickets for half the price, get a million different discounts for a range of restaurants, get killer discounts on travel options, buy electronics for cheaper , and go on for days without cash, even paying your Uber driver with Paytm. The list is exhaustive with its many benefits and it even works at Nescafe in college, I mean what more could we ask for!

It takes about five minutes to set up and serves you forever, so what are you waiting for? Devote some space on your phone to a useful application. After all, we do deserve to watch a movie for free once in a while.

Anahita Sahu

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Image Credits: 3ghackerz.com

Daddy Dearest has never approved of my reckless instinct of burning his hard-earned money on nonessential internet shopping.  But for once, he was proud (almost to the extent of patting me on the shoulder) when this very addiction helped me dispose off my last 500 rupee note.

The amusing incident unravelled as follows: A day after the 500 and 1000 rupee notes were declared redundant, I received an unexpected phone call from a number which Truecaller refused to identify.  On answering the call the second time around, I learnt that it was from the delivery man carrying my most recent online order for a dress worth rupees 550.  In the course of the conversation, when I asked him about the payment, the man quite blatantly declared that he wouldn’t be accepting cash in the form of multiples of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.  To such unrelenting firmness, I almost gagged.  Clearly, it was too soon for me to be in possession of the new currency denominations and my first impulse was to worry about the cancellation of my order.

Like an idiot, I revealed my anxiety to him. This was a huge mistake on my part, which the clever delivery man decided to instantly exploit. He very calmly tried to placate my fears, and then went on to spring the worst kind of surprise on me. He agreed to accept my 500 rupee note, provided I paid him a premium of rupee 50 (and therefore, a lump sum of rupees 600) for his kind gesture.

Yes, at the time, I was grossly desperate. Because I not just wanted to receive my order, but also get rid of the seemingly cursed note. Yet, my temporary flight from rationality ceased when good sense returned and I flatly refused his beguiling offer. The man, however, was rather perseverant; to the point where he hung up on me when I held my ground.

For about an hour, I moped around the house, blaming my ill-luck and horoscope.  But just when I had reconciled with the situation, I received a phone call from the same number. I took my time in answering, but was delighted to hear the delivery man say (although rather grudgingly) that he would deliver my order in under forty five minutes, and accept the 500 rupee bill too!

I’m not quite sure what changed the man’s iron resolve. Perhaps, he would have been penalised (rebuked, or worse, fired) for late/non-delivery by his superiors. After all, only a serious threat would make a man of his doggedness give in.  But I was extremely happy. I got my dress (which was worth the wait, verbal tussle and mental harassment) and also spent the 500 rupee note. Like The Bard would say, “All’s well that ends well”,eh?

But all humour aside, here’s a sincere request to all those who are still in possession of the obsolete currency: Don’t get bullied by vendors and the like into paying premiums in exchange for accepting your old money. Because this in itself is an unlawful practice, the perpetuation of which defeats the purpose of demonetisation. Go to a bank. Or, spend wisely!

Image Credits: Yahoo India Finance 

Kriti Sharma
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