Demonetisation: Despite misery in rural Maharashtra, there is support for PM Modi

Thirteen days after the Prime Minister announced the invalidation of 86% of India’s currency–that is, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes–the lives of people in Maharashtra’s villages and towns are widely disrupted, IndiaSpend’s investigation in five districts found. Our analysts Abhishek Waghmare, Shreya Shah, Swagata Yadavar and Mukta Patil spoke to a variety of people in rural, semi-urban and peri-urban areas of Ahmednagar, Thane and Palghar, Greater Mumbai, and Pune districts.

Firstpost also sent Bindisha Sarang to Gujarat's Himmatnagar to assess the impact of demonetisation on rural lives in our country.

Sarang has an iPhone, a couple of mics, a GoPro and no institutional monetary support — she has borrowed money from friends and withdrawn all the cash permitted under prevalent restrictions.

She will go live on Facebook when she is able to locate a reliable cell phone signal, and send in text updates on WhatsApp. Sarang has a very loose editorial guideline with which to work — she will hitch rides when necessary, interview as many people as are willing to talk, alter her route as circumstances dictate, and file updates when she deems it necessary.

Firstpost will broadcast her road trip on our Facebook page, and, after she returns, in the form of a series of documentary shorts.

Day 1, 9.00 am: Sarang talks to train commuters, some of them from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, about the impact of demonetisation on their lives.

Day 1, 6.00 am: We start from Mumbai Central. Join us on this journey.

The IndiaSpend investigation concluded that a majority of people in Greater Mumbai hailed the step, and showed optimism in the future, while people in the other four districts largely spoke of how the move is affecting their day-to-day lives.

Demonetisation: Despite misery in rural Maharashtra, there is support for PM Modi

Our (Indiaspend's) analysts tweeted the reactions and observations in real-time.

#Notebandi: Why Maharashtra for our investigation

Maharashtra is a social and economic microcosm of India: Diverse, powerful and poor.

More than 1,000 of India’s richest people–half the country’s total–with assets of more than $30 million each live here in India’s richest state; as do 80 million people who live on less than Rs 1,000 per month.

Maharashtra is home to India’s largest wholesale agricultural market, a third of the country’s urban cooperative banks and home base for the largest banks. The state has more ATMs, computers, mobile phones and internet connections than any other. Its 12,000 bank branches are next only to Uttar Pradesh.


Patil started her day at Chakan and Khed, in Pune district, and found that lack of cash was affecting wholesale and retail markets.

Meanwhile, Waghmare was at Pathardi in Ahmednagar district.

Shah was in Hamrapur, in Thane district.

Yadavar was at the agricultural produce market–known as APMC market–in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.

Patil proceeded to Rajgurunagar in Pune district.

Meanwhile, Waghmare met a civil contractor and a hotel owner in Ahmednagar.

Shah, then, reached the district central co-operative bank in Thane.

Yadavar met a papaya farmer, and the president of the Bhajipala Mahasangh at Vashi’s APMC market, while Waghmare met a vegetable seller in Pathardi.

Waghmare then met the manager of a rural co-operative bank, and then a banking business correspondent with the State Bank of India (SBI).

Patil met the manager of a milk parlour, and then spoke to the manager of a wedding hall in Khed, Pune district.

Yadavar then met a fruit trader and a retailer at the Vashi APMC market.

Waghmare reached the SBI’s branch in Pathardi, before proceeding to the APMC market.

Shah met a corner shop owner in Thane.

Meanwhile, Yadavar visited the King Edward Memorial Hospital in south-central Mumbai and the Tata Memorial Hospital to speak to patients and their relatives.

Patil then met a cross-section of people including the owner of a store selling seeds, fertilisers, etc, a kirana store owner, and the manager of the district co-operative bank, in Narayangaon, Pune district.

Waghmare then reported that the APMC market at Pathardi, in Ahmednagar district, was shut by traders due to shortage of Rs 100 notes.

NOTE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Maharashtra has 30 million of the 80 million people who live on less than Rs 1,000 a month. The correct datum is that 80 million live in Maharashtra on less than Rs 1,000 a month.

( is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit.)

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Updated Date: Nov 23, 2016 10:27:10 IST

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