3 Weeks After India's Rupee Ban, a 'Day of Rage'

Monday sees scattered protests
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2016 11:57 AM CST
3 Weeks After India's Rupee Ban, a 'Day of Rage'
An activist of India's National Congress party holds banned 500- and 1,000-rupee notes during a protest in Hyderabad, India, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

A surprise move earlier this month took India's two largest bank notes out of circulation, and on Monday scattered "day of rage" protests cropped up in various cities in response to the measure, the BBC reports. Although the ban on the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes was meant to flush out so-called "black money" (stashed cash that hasn't been subject to taxes; India says only 1% of its people paid income taxes in 2013), opposition parties claim the decision was a rash one that's placed citizens in economic upheaval: The two notes made up 86% of the country's in-circulation currency. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls the ban "monumental mismanagement"; earlier this month, the Guardian compared the move to "the failed experiments of dictatorships."

Demonetization protests have taken place in Lucknow, Kolkata (with a reported 25,000 in attendance), and Bangalore, with the states of Kerala and Tripura experiencing a disruption of "normal life" that has brought things in some areas to a "standstill," the Indian Express reports. People's attempts to get their hands on legal currency have been described as "chaotic," per the BBC, with banks and ATMs running out of money. (This BBC article clearly explains the limits on exchanging and depositing 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, and the tax implications.) PM Narendra Modi says people should get used to non-cash ways of paying, though Deutsche Welle reports many poor people in India don't have bank accounts and are struggling to find ways to pay for food and other necessities. (Read more India stories.)

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