Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise November 8 announcement to ban old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes illegal has affected lives of crores of citizens in the country. The livelihood of daily wage labourers and small vendors took a severe hit for the initial 4-5 days after the demonetisation. However, times of crisis often provide people with the opportunity to explore or switch to something futuristic. Some litti-chokha street vendors in Noida have done exactly that by adopting Paytm for accepting payments from customers.
Manoj Yadav (29) sells delicious litti-chokha near Noida Sector 16 metro station. He has been serving the most popular Bihari cuisine to people for the last four years on a thela. When PM Modi announced the decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, Manoj’s daily sale dipped suddenly as even some of his regular customers didn’t have “enough cash.”
A resident of Jhanjharpur in Madhubani district of Bihar, Manoj says his business almost halved in the first 3-4 days. However, things normalised after he started taking payments via Paytm, a mobile e-wallet. “My business was bad in the first 3-4 days (after demonetisation). But everything is normal since I started using Paytm,” Manoj tells FE Online, adding the Paytm representatives helped him in installing the e-wallet app on his smartphone.
On a normal day, Manoj sells litti-chokha worth around Rs 1500-Rs 1600 from his informally branded ‘Mithilanchal litti-chokha’ stall. He says the sale goes up on a good day. What may surprise many is that Manoj has not studied much. Married at a very young age, Manoj is already a father of four children. He sends all of them to school.
In the last four years, Manoj has become an entrepreneur in his own right as he now sells Mithilanchal litti-chokha at three places in Noida. All the stalls are run by his relatives from Jhanjharpur and they share the profits.
About 50 metres from Manoj’s first stall near Noida Sector 16 metro station, his relative Durganand Yadav manages another Mithilanchal litti-chokha stall. Durganand is happy taking payments via Paytm. “It has helped us beat the note-bandi (note ban),” he says.
Not just Manoj, there are many other street vendors in Noida who have adopted Paytm after the demonetisation. Noida may appear chaotic and crowded for first-time visitors. But there are certain things about the city that gives a welcome relief from even more chaotic Delhi.