(Bloomberg) Bankers are bracing for long hours and angry mobs as pay day approaches in India, the first test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to invalidate almost all cash in circulation.
“Already people who are frustrated are locking branches from outside in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu and abusing staff as enough cash is not available,” said CH Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All India Bank Employees’ Association. The group has sought police protection at bank branches for the next 10 days, he added. “This is the fallout of one of the worst planned and executed government decisions in decades.”
He estimates that about 20 million people — almost twice the population of Greece — will queue up at bank branches and ATMs over the coming week, when most employers in India pay their staff. In an economy where 98 percent of consumer payments are in cash, banks are functioning with about half the amount of currency they need.