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Demonetisation disaster

Thursday, January 12, 2017

No planning on who will bear the cost of the cashless drive pushed the country to the brink of a fuel crisis, forcing Narendra Modi to defer a fee that threatened to freeze payments by cards at petrol pumps across the country as the managing body of petrol dealers said cards would be accepted. I strongly feel that had the night breather not been found, chaos might have unfolded on roads across the country with immediate effect. Before demonetisation, any refusal to accept cards would not have had any widespread impact. However, with restrictions on cash withdrawals still in place, payments through cards have become a lifeline. The petrol dealers were told by several banks that a fee ranging between 0.25 per cent and 1 per cent would be levied on purchases made on their point-of-sale (PoS) machines immediately. The fee is known in banking parlance as MDR (merchant discount rate) but the dealers said that their margins are fixed on a per kilolitre basis and they do not have any scope to absorb this charge. With this it is another biggest slap on the face of Modi government for the wrong and hasty decision.

— Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai

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