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Pan mandatory hurting payments of daily wage labourers after Modi’s demonetization

Pan mandatory hurting payments of daily wage labourers after Modi’s demonetization

It’s a monumental mismanagement is what was termed by former Prime Minister, Finance Minister, RBI Governor, Manmohan Singh about the way in which currency demonetization is being implemented on the ground. Let Singh’s words taken with a pinch of salt.

Ramashish, who commutes from Hebbal to Horamaavu, is a daily wage labourer who toils every day at a construction site to earn Rs 500. After demonetization, he has not been paid properly. “A day after demonetization, the contractor asked to accept Rs 500 notes saying we can exchange old notes to Rs 100 and new notes in banks. But he did not give break during working hours to exchange money.” Ramashish took a leave and stood in a queue to exchange his hard earned savings – Rs 500 gave by the contractor and other savings he had in 500 notes.

Ramashish does not have a bank account. Adhar is the only identification card he has. Contractor who was unable to make payments in cash after a week into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cancellation of legal tender, resorted to open bank accounts to labourers. Ramashish says, contractor is asking for some card (he referred to Pan Card) and “I do not have card.” Future for Ramashish looks bleak and is mulling over returning to his state Uttar Pradesh.

A construction contractor, Paul is finding hard to make payments to his workers. Over 300 daily wage labourers are working under him. “For almost four days I managed to pay in Rs 100 and 50 notes but later I too ran out of low denominators as withdrawal limit is just 2500 in ATMs and 10,000 through checks.” Paul has started a drive of bringing labourers into the banking system and pay wages through plastic money.

Over 100 labourers does not have Pan Card. “What I do with these poor people who live on daily wage to end starving?” Paul asks. He says banks should provide certain relaxations to these people to ease problems. Paul has requested a bank to which he gives business to ease the problem. “We have also kept payments pending,” he added.

On the other hand, another contractor who did not wish to be named in this report, says some private banks does not operate in remote places of India from where labourers migrate looking for a job to support the family to Metro cities. This causes another problem. Family of labourer living in remote area are unable to withdraw. It is good if nationalized banks ease norms and facilitate to resolve problems of these migrated birds.

Prithvi, a bank official with HDFC says Pan Card is a mandatory document for any to provide during opening of accounts. After demonetisation, RBI has stressed that accounts can only be opened, if a customer provide Pan Card. Rules have become more stringent and it is good.

Ramashish has so far managed to somehow meet daily ends. But in a near future, if he does not apply for a pan card, he will be pushed into a chamber of hell. As Manmohan Sigh said, it is certain that inconvenience of 50 days for poor will have disastrous effects.

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March 2017
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