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A woman holds 500- and 1000-rupee notes as she stands in a queue to deposit money inside a bank in the northern city of Kanpur.   © Reuters
Economy

Modi's currency crackdown leaves Indians cash-strapped

An effort to shrink the black economy is making life hard for ordinary people

KIRAN SHARMA, Nikkei staff writer | India

NEW DELHI -- "We thought it was a matter of just 50 days!" lamented Suman Bhatt, a mother of two, who yet again was waiting in line for a cash machine, weeks into a banking crisis of the Indian prime minister's making.

At midnight on Nov. 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned the use of 500- and 1,000-rupee bank notes, 86% of the money in circulation by value, to stop the flow of "black money," or hidden wealth. For Bhatt and millions like her, the botched execution of the reform -- not the crackdown itself -- has been maddening.

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