Poorest in Rajasthan beg banks for their own money, farmers worst hit

Catch Team | First published: 15 November 2016, 19:55 IST
Rajasthan poor and farmers suffer effects of demon
Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In Dausa, Rajasthan, on Sunday, the constant refrain that could be heard at every bank was "I beg you with folded hands, give me my money".

Some needed it to buy fertilisers for their crops, some for their relatives' wedding, some for medical treatments. And they all pleaded to bank managers to release funds quickly.

Tales of woe

Abdul Waheed was one of these hundreds of people. He joined the line at the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur at 1pm, but his turn did not arrive till 4pm. He pleaded with manager Malchand that he had to go to Ahmedabad that very evening, and needed the money to pay for a wedding dinner. The manager finally got him cash.

At the post office, Mukesh Sharma of Nangal Chapa said he had ploughed the field, but now needed money to pay for DAP, seeds and germ killers, apart from a tractor. If he didn't get the money, he would miss the crop.

Kanungo Maharaj of Tehsil Lavaan said there was acute swelling on his leg, and if he did not buy medicine the same day, his condition would be become unbearable.

Ramesh Meena of village Godhra said he needed to buy material for a wedding dinner, and the village shopkeeper had refused to give him credit.

Saraswati Devi of Sundardas Marg said she faced such trouble for the first time in her life.

Tinku Bairwa, a first year college student, said he had to pay tuition fees, examination fees, and buy books.

Kali Devi's child needed medical treatment. But after standing in the line for hours, her prospects of getting some money looked bleak.

What the banks are doing

After PM Narendra Modi's demonetisation drive, 155 bank branches in Dausa district had received deposits worth Rs 240 crore per day in the few days. Earlier, the total was less than Rs 1 crore per day.

Those who had opened zero balance accounts were also - the poorest of the poor in the state, had also started gathering whatever money they could manage and depositing it in their accounts after exchanging old notes.

But while there were reports of bank staff performing better than usual from across the country, in Dausa, it was a different story.