PM Modi’s announcement about the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 did not drastically affect life at the IITs. The reason? Most students have already gone cashless, and the banks and ATMs being shut is least of their worries.
Paytm, an online wallet system saves the burden of carrying cash at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. Aakansha Bordia, said, “We use Paytm quite often. It is accepted by every shop, restaurants, etc inside campus.” She added, “It is not at all a problem for us at IIT-B, rather we are proud of PM’s bold move. I liked the way it was brought in, sudden, and surprising. It will curb black money, as well as control the fake currency in the market.”
Saurabh Awatade from IIT Madras, said, “Most students at IIT-M use an offline wallet system called ‘Zup’ which is accepted by all restaurants and eateries around the institute.” He continued, “But there were long queues at ATMs here to withdraw enough 100 rupee notes in case we have to go outside the campus for any work.”
On the night of November 9, 2017, students at various IITs were standing in long queues, not for rock concert tickets, but to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Such was the scenario at IIT Delhi, Sidharth Ranjan, said, “There were huge lines outside ATM till late night yesterday, withdrawing Rs 400 cash multiple times to secure enough cash on hand for the next 3 days. Even the ATMs are out of cash now, currency notes of Rs 100 are over.”
He continued, “But I must say, the enthusiasm among people to get 100/- denomination notes was awesome, as if the ATM was dispensing some rock concert tickets.” Some were lucky to get 100/- denomination notes, but some were not. One faculty member from IIT Kanpur, was in quite a situation as he had almost no cash in pocket. Vishal Jain, the aforementioned faculty member, said, “I have to leave for Indore today (November 9, 2017) and I have Rs 2600 (four Rs 500 notes, and one Rs 100 notes) in cash, which is worth only Rs 100. Nobody is ready to take the four notes of 500/- denomination and even the banks and ATMs are shut today.”
Students at IIT Kharagpur did not even bother to withdraw any money last night. With a 2,100-acre campus, they rarely go to the city. Atal Ashutosh Agarwal, said, “Overall, this change will have a big impact, and in the initial days, people might face some problems. If we are short on cash, we can always make online payments, so there are no issues as such. This is an amazing move by our PM and I hope it cleans the system.”