When I was 11 years old my father died and the entire family’s responsibility came on me. At that time one aunty introduced me to the chit fund. We began the committee with 15 people and with 6000 rupees. Therefore, each one of us put 500 rupees and whoever needed that money for accomplishing some work, we used to draw their names through a lottery. However, later that person had to repay the money. Likewise, if anybody had to get their children married, we used to draw his/her name. Though the entire cost of the ceremony could not always be covered, but, atleast they could use it for sewing clothes. Slowly we started expanding our fund from 500 per person to 25000 per person.
An aunty used to stay behind my house. She was also a member of the committee. She had two daughters of marriageable age. Therefore one day she kept a proposal of starting a big committee in front of us. That was the time when we started a committee of 1 lakh rupees. It was a committee of 20 people and 40,000 per month. She started two committees, and as a result, got her daughters married in a lavish ceremony.
It’s been 15 years, a man named Anwar used to stay here; his wife worked in a parlour. One day he came to me and told “my wife spent too much money because of which I am unable to save”. I suggested him to start a committee. He started two committees, each of 1 lakh rupees. Again after 20 months, he started two committees worth 2 lakh each. He bought a flat from the money he received. Recently he met me and said that he sold that flat for 22 lakh. He bought another 1+1 flat for 15 lakhs and with the rest 7 lakh he got both his daughters married. At present, his son is doing a job, and he has a stress free life. This committee has helped a lot of people. Bank will not lend you such a big amount. Take my example. I have built my house with the help of this committee. I started with a committee of 1 lakh and with the accumulated money, I made this house.
However, demonetization has affected all the committees. It has destroyed all of them. Now who will start a committee in cash? This committee is made up of average to low income people and trivial amounts are deposited. When people do not have money how will the committee operate?
Of course they will not pay in cheque, and in case they do, I will have to deposit all of it in my account. My account will have lakhs of rupees. Therefore, I will be slammed with heavy tax as the government will not see that the money is not entirely mine. How can I fill tax every year? That’s why we had to close the chit fund.
Likewise many women in general got affected by demonetization. There is a woman who stays just beside my house. Her husband is an alcoholic. He spends almost all his earnings in alcohol. Therefore, without informing her husband, she started saving money for meeting other house hold needs. Every month, she used to keep aside an amount from the household expenses, otherwise her alcoholic husband would have spent that in drinking. Once the children grow up, she planned to put them in good school and in good tution using the money from the savings. Thus she put a committee with her savings, but she never had a bank account. She could never manage time out of her household work to create an account of her own. However, when the news of demonetization came, she got very tensed. Who will take the money that she has saved. She requested one of her friends to deposit all the money in her (friend’s) account. However, after a weeks her friend returned all of the money and said that she cannot deposit so much of money together. Finally, she was forced to seek help from her husband. Instantly her husband said “you always complained that I don’t give you enough money for the household expenses and look at you…you have saved so much of money. Now wait! I will see how you save money. From today, I will give you less money for house hold expenses.” After saying this, he took all her money andescaped. Still now she did not get her money which she saved with so much hope.
An old lady in our colony also faced with similar fate. Over past 7 years she saved some 45000 rupees, out of the medical expenses her son used to give her. She saved it as security for a later stage. After demone-
tization, she gave all the money to her son so that he could safely deposit them in bank. Her son was not of good nature. He took all the money from his mother and did not return singlepaise to her. He spent the entire amount. My own mother also encountered problem. She saved about 25000 rupees which my brother took. Till now he did not return it. On the contrary he says “we are there for you. What will you do with so much money?” Likewise, all women’s money was taken by men. Women, whose husbands used to give 10,000 rupees as household expenses, reduced it to 8000- 9000 rupees, by saying that they (the women) saved so much money, now they should run the household with the given amount.
People are facing lots of problem due to the closure of chit fund. Take for example, a member of our committee, who stays in Hauz-Rani. After her husband’s death, she used to work in a factory (which manufactures sports equipment), behind the mall. One day her daughter, who was in 10th std. suddenly fell unconscious. After consulting the doctor she got to know that her daughter has a hole in her heart. She needed 1 lakh rupees to operate it. This is the amount that government hospitals charge, private hospitals charge even more. So, she came to me with her problem. I suggested her to start the committee and she would be the first one to get all the money which she could repay slowly. She did as I said and thus gathered the money needed for the operation. Now her daughter is absolutely fine and is doing a job somewhere. If not for the committee then from where would poor women get so much of money?
Personally, I think, instead of betterment of the situation, demonetization would adversely affect people’s life. If anybody has more than 3 lakhs in their account, legal action would be taken against them. What do you expect people to do? They won’t be able to help each other even. A section of people’s thought processes flourished due to the ‘chit fund’, which is destroyed by demonetization. Chit fund was also a medium for people to meet and know each other, to build healthy relations, which got affected as well!