There is a cash crunch in Parliament, the temple of Indian democracy.
With a severe cash crunch, staff at the reception where various souvenirs are sold, the canteens in the premises as well as tea vendors are battling a difficult time.
Even the few ATMs in the premises frequently run out of cash.
The Rajya Sabha counter that sells souvenirs such as clocks, pens and folders with Parliament House logos has seen a rapid fall in sales since Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were demonetised on November 8.
According to a staff at the outlet, the average daily sales during a session used to be around Rs 4,000-5,000, but has now come down to barely Rs 1,000.
“Perhaps people don’t have cash to spare. Even we don’t have much loose cash to tender change,” a man at the counter told IANS.
Apart from the cash crunch, another major reason behind the sales dip is that the counter is not accepting e-payment. In fact no outlet in Parliament House accepts e-payment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been urging the people to make digital transactions and use their mobile phones to pay for groceries and other daily use items.
It appears the message has not reached Parliament.
“We are not accepting e-payments. Please give cash, that too preferably in small notes,” the salesman said.
It is the same story at the canteens, where the cashiers have been doling out IOUs in lieu of change.
If one buys an item for Rs 20 and gives a Rs 100 note, more often than not the cashier hands out a hand-written IOU for the Rs 80 balance.
“Please take it later or you may buy food tomorrow,” he says.
A tea vendor told IANS that “there was no set up here” to take e-payments.
When it was explained to him that all needed was download a free app, such as Paytm, to start receiving e-payments, he said: “We are not authorised to do that. When the Lok Sabha Speaker allows us to take payments through mobile phones, we will.”