Ever noticed the warning in buses and trains that ticketless travellers will be fined or jailed, or both? Well, a new problem is cropping up after demonetization. While India’s prisons were full of rapists, murderers, frauds and terrorists, they now have a new type of inmate. Many Indians, who used to travel ticket-less in the buses and trains and would pay the fine if they got caught, are the new inmates; and the fear is that their population may swell to uncontrollable figures soon in the nation’s prisons.
But why? This is because the people often don’t have adequate Rs 100 or Rs 500 notes to pay the fine. Even if they have the Rs 2000 note, the ticket-checker often does not have adequate change to return from the fine charge. Many bus and train association in the country are yet to adopt digital payment methods like PayTM or UPI, so paying your fine digitally is also not an option. The only option left when you cannot pay the fine? Go to jail for those few days.
As a result of the number of people unable to pay the fine in correct notes or digitally, the count of inflows into the prisons each day is swelling beyond imagination. If it continues this way, the authorities feel new prison complexes have to be constructed. Leading engineering companies have started leaving aside plans for housing complexes and shopping complexes, and are instead concentrating on plans for prison complexes. Their share prices are already surging in the stock markets.
The authorities have asked the bus and train authorities to quickly go digital, and adopt digital payment methods. This will ensure more people are able to pay the fine and not face the option of jail. Authorities have also asked people to follow rules and buy tickets, so that the question of tick-less travel does not arise in the first place!