New Delhi, Nov 7 - Ahead of the first anniversary of demonetisation, around 63% respondents of a nationwide survey released on November 7 said they witnessed people in "serious problems" due to the government's sudden move announced on November 8 last year, while 65% said they saw marriages being postponed because of the note ban.
The report, done by 'Anhad' and 32 other civil society organisations, also contains the names of some of the persons who died in bank queues and due to other reasons attributable to scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and also briefly describes their heart-wrenching ordeals.
A majority of the respondents (55% vs 26.6%) disagreed that the move will wipe out black money forever. Also, 48.2% did not believe that demonetisation would have any impact on terror attacks while only 20% believed the common man would benefit from the move.
In the national capital Delhi, as many as 71.8% respondents said they witnessed people in "serious problems" such as even seriously sick patients left unattended because they could not pay in new currency in the wake of 'notebandi'.
Also, 50% of respondents knew someone whose job was terminated due to demonetisation.
While more than 65% said they did not see any politician or a rich person standing in any bank or ATM queue, around the same percentage felt that the rich did not face any problem because of demonetisation.
The survey, that contained 96 questions, was done between December 2016 and January 2017 across 21 major states including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The report was released here by social activists John Dayal, Gauhar Raza, P.V.S. Kumar and Subodh Mohanty on Tuesday on the eve of the first anniversary of demonetisation, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 last year.
"The data was collected in December 2016 and January 2017 when people's perceptions were still highly influenced by the narrative which was being bombarded all around by the controlled media channels," said Gauhar Raza, a retired scientist from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and one of the authors on the report.
"Despite all efforts to cut people off from the ground reality by creating this false narrative, the data collected even in those early days is quite revealing. If the same exercise is to be repeated now the results would be damning," Raza added.
The report lists 90 persons who died in bank queues and other reasons attributable to notebandi.
For instance, an eight-year-old boy in Doonga village of Jammu's Samba district died after his father was unable to provide medical treatment for lack of new currency. Quoting 'Greater Kashmir' newspaper, the report said the man had unsuccessfully tried to exchange cash - Rs 29,000 - for three consecutive days before he carried his child on foot to a hospital almost 50 km away.
Similarly, Babu Lal, 50, died of a heart attack in Aligarh after he failed to exchange notes in time for a wedding in the family. There are many more similar heart wrenching stories.
P.V.S. Kumar, a retired scientist from CSIR and an author on the report, said that the list is incomplete as "we still don't know the exact number of the victims of demonetisation".