With Modi’s move to eradicate black money and in turn, corruption, millions of poor remain hard hit. Apart from this rural poor, who do not always have access to a proper financial system, or even proper ID cards, housewives are the worst sufferers of this sudden news.
“I’m sure I’m not alone in this when I say that all Indian wives have a secret savings account in their cupboard somewhere. We all have these secret cash stashed at home for various purposes. Be it for emergency, or shopping, or weddings, or even for household chores. Men do not always understand various expenditures that are a part of the house and therefore, keeping this money aside for that time in need becomes of great significance. Don’t believe me? Ask my daughter. Every time she has an urgent need for some extra cash, she says, “Mumma, where does this money come from every time we really need it?” says Mamta Sharma, who takes care of her house and is also a beauty professional in Jaipur.
So what are we trying to say? That such savings by housewives have become a little worthless now.
The problem that persists with the poor of the country, the issue of no formal bank account, is also prevalent among women. According to a report by United Nations, India was amongst the 38 countries where 80 per cent of the women did not have a bank account. This also explains the need for some of these women to save this money at home because they cannot always depend on their husbands for small expenses.
Keeping this money aside was their way of taking hold of some financial decisions which did not require the husband’s approval. Anjana Prakash, a housewife in Mumbai, tells us, “These savings instil a sense of independence in most housewives because they can utilise this money for their expenses. For a lot of women, even if they have a bank account in their name, their husbands access it for them.”
Lack of financial empowerment is a persisting problem for women in our nation, because being a patriarchal society, the man of the house has the say in finances and expenses.
“My husband was shocked to see that I had managed to save so much from the fixed amount he gave me every month. He wasn’t angry, he was just surprised. But I guess, our secret is out now,” says Heena Marfatia from Mumbai.
Some of these women have saved so much that now when they go to a bank to deposit the money, they will have to pay tax for it. The purpose for such a big savings was mostly for weddings, or jewellery, or emergency. The housewives aren’t too happy about this move, but only time will tell how effective this step will be to curb corruption and the circulation of black money.
Feature Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times