Amritsar, January 3
Even as the apex court upheld the demonetisation ban of 2016, local industrialists and daily wagers feel that notebandi, GST and Covid-19 restrictions hit their lives like never before. Their ramifications are still being felt.
No new player is showing the guts to enter high investment and labour-intensive industry like pharmaceuticals, textiles, steel and other fields. Industrialists say that only those firms with surplus funds have survived while those in debt are struggling.
Sudeep Singh, an entrepreneur, said the trend of sending wards to developed nations leaving behind the family business intensified after the back-to-back introduction of demonetisation, GST and lockdown. Spiralling prices of raw material and rising competition have added to the uncertainty. So, people from a trade and industry background are preferring to send their wards abroad to settle in developed countries instead of joining the family business.
Samir Goyal, from the steel and iron industry, recalled that shortage of liquidity was the biggest crisis faced during demonetisation. Big companies who supply raw material invariably ask for payments in advance while wholesale and retail buyers of products like nails and screws do not release the payment of sold material for long. A similar trend was visible after the introduction of GST and the restrictions imposed in the wake of Covid-19.
SS Khanna, an industrialist, said he closed two factories out of four plastic manufacturing units here after the introduction of GST. He said his son and daughter-in-law had gone to Australia on a study visa and preferred to stay back there.
Baljinder Singh, a daily wager working at a saw mill, recalled that his entire savings were exhausted in meeting the domestic expenditure during demonetisation.
Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal president Piara Lal Seth said demonetisation had brought all productive activities to a halt. Similarly, introduction of GST and later over 1,000 amendments to it were a testimony to the shortcomings in it, he added.