Kingston students from India recount their experience when they woke to discover that they had lost rights to their own money.
Just less than a year ago the Indian PM, Narendra Modi announced that to tackle the problem of corruption various notes had been banned and a limit was put on the amount of money people could withdraw.
Aditya Tandon, a third year Business and Management student at Kingston, said: “It wasn’t like they were giving you the new currency in the easiest way possible. It was more like, stand in queues for hours long and try your luck! If you are lucky enough, your number would come and you could then exchange a limited amount of cash during the time.”
Tandon, whose education is funded by his family, was in Kingston when he heard about the demonetisation and describes his family to have gone into panic.
Due to the sudden ban on 500 and 1000 Rupee notes and a limit on bank transactions, Tandon’s family did have to resort to other means to keep him afloat.
“Any announcement that takes into account money, price hikes, currency, exchange rates can be the root cause of other panics. When I read news that people didn’t have cash on them to buy basic staples of food and that certain shopkeepers weren’t ready to accept cash for purchases. It surely was chaotic,” said Tandon.
Kanishka Bhatia, another Kingston student whose education is funded by her family, was not as affected by the demonetisation but did experience delays in paying bills.
For Bhatia it was her extended family who had to face setbacks back home in India when the demonetisation happened.
“There are negative effects of this banknote ban which are long term. I feel there were many loop holes for people to get away with it and thus only the poor and middle class people suffered,” said Bhatia.
While the two students were affected by this banknote ban to different extends, they both agree that not coming back to Kingston was not an option, as education is their priority.
Both Tandon and Bhatia believe that Kingston has experienced a drop in the number of Indian students as the demonetisation has impacted their economy and coming to the UK is not as easy anymore.
“I would say India’s market has become slow as well has economic growth has dropped to some extent,” said Bhatia.
“It was more like a disaster without any management, people back home were in an utter chaotic situation. All of this was surely evident from when I spoke to my friends and family,” said Tandon.