Demonetization Hits 80% of Small Businesses
Anil Bhardwaj is the secretary general of the Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises. It is to this group of enterprises, popularly referred to by the abbreviation MSMEs, that demonetization has delivered a severe blow. It has devastated workers, brought the informal sector to a veritable standstill, and disrupted an economy greased by cash. In an interview to Scroll, Bhardwaj articulates the woes of his organization's members, why they run their businesses on cash, and what it would take for them to embrace cashless transactions.
Initially, they welcomed it. There can be no two opinions that all those who are self-employed are vulnerable to extortion of money from income tax, sales tax, excise tax and labor departments. Not only do they lose their dignity, they have to also manipulate the system.
The prime minister's announcement of demonetization was akin to someone blowing the whistle and the entire chain of business coming to a standstill. This meant nobody was going to take invalidated notes, nor were you expected to make payments.
The second stage saw us turn our attention to our business. We realized we didn't have money to pay our suppliers, transporters, loaders and laborers. Payments to them constitute a large percentage of our expenditure. We didn't have money because we had deposited it, but banks didn't give us money in return. It is then we realized that we faced a bleak future.
Changes in rules accentuate the unpredictability in business and it also sends a message that the demonetization hasn't been thoughtfully plan.
It was also thought as a blunder because it has had an adverse impact on a lot of those who don't have black money. Chemotherapy in cancer treatment is opted as a last resort. This is because chemotherapy also kills healthy cells. To eradicate black money, the micro, small and medium enterprises were thus hit badly.