Ram Prasad Deep received the Rs 500 notes on Monday. Pic/Sameer Markande
Ram Prasad Deep received the Rs 500 notes on Monday. Pic/Sameer Markande

When PM Modi made his surprise announcement of discontinuing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes to weaken those hoarding black money, Ram Deep (16) felt short-changed. The visually challenged teen, who begs to earn a living, had received crisp Rs 500 notes on Monday in exchange for all his coins.

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Yusuf Khan has been saving up for a house but does not have a valid ID to open a bank account. Pic/Sameer Markande
Yusuf Khan has been saving up for a house but does not have a valid ID to open a bank account. Pic/Sameer Markande

Joining Deep, who lives in the Garib Nagar slums in Bandra, is Yusuf Khan (58), who does repairs in the shantytown. Khan had saved up Rs 17,000 for the deposit money to buy a small house. Most of this money is in the now devalued denominations, but Khan can’t even go to the bank to deposit it, as he does not have an ID card or an account.

'Give us an identity'
“This money was being saved from years. Since my daughter got married, I haven’t spent on anything. The government should at least consider us as human beings and give us some identity so we can save the money we worked so hard on,” said Khan.

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Not just the homeless, members of the transgender community are facing the same problem: cannot pay with the existing notes, neither do they have legal identification to make a bank account.

Shabnam (name changed), one of the transgenders from the slum said, “First of all, we are not financially sound. Whatever money we have, has been saved in our houses. Since I do not have an account or ID Card, I really don’t know how I will get my money converted. People have forgotten us.” Urmi, from the Humsafar trust, who is also transgender, said, “I have cash, but cannot pay rent. What do I do? Where do I go?” she laments.

Stuck in the pipeline
For 7-year-old Aiyaz, a migrant, things are difficult, to say the least. Since the last three months, Aiyaz has been begging at the Bandra station and had collected Rs 1,000, which he exchanged from an older boy of the slum and kept carefully under his bed. But he is blissfully oblivious to the change that has now hit him.

Rs 2k
The amount he earned by begging