Long queues outside banks and ATMs have become a common sight following PM Narendra Modi’s announcement to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)
Early on a winter morning at the Chuna Mandi labour adda near Paharganj in Delhi, the capital’s “dispensables” were gathering to scour for their day’s work, as they do every day. The fog was yet to set in, and the air had a sharp nip. The mood among the casual workers was visibly downbeat.
“We have to dig wells every day in order to quench our thirst”. This popular Hindi saying recurred in conversations when I walked Delhi’s streets to understand how the abrupt withdrawal of old currency notes had impacted Delhi’s poorest, homeless and casual workers, and people dependent on charity.