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[Startup jugaad] Now book a ‘chotu’ to stand in ATM queue for you

Dipti Nair
22nd Nov 2016
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Since the fateful night of November 8, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi stunned the nation with his announcement of demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, many people who were warming their mattresses with hard cash have had sleepless nights.

Is this the new normal?
Since Nov 8, large queues outside banks and ATMs have become the new normal.

But as they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Reports abound about how people have found unique ways to launder their black money -- from bribing bank officials to making the poor deposit lakhs in their Jan Dhan accounts, to hiring daily wage earners to exchange their bundles of old 500 and 1,000 notes.

Startup jugaad

This happens only in India, you may say. But, there’s something else that also happens in the land of jugaad. Where there’s an opportunity, there’s always a startup figuring out how to make money. Legally.

Paytm may have come in for some flak for showing their over enthusiasm for the Prime Minister’s demonetisation move, but like them, many startups are looking to make hay while the sun shines.

The latest we hear is of BookMyChotu. A Delhi-based on-demand startup where you can hire a ‘chotu’ for Rs 90 an hour to stand in an ATM or a bank queue for you. 

They simply take the trophy as far as jugaad is concerned. Unlike the startups that are offering to help find the closest ATM with cash for you using pure tech, BookMyChotu offers a real solution for a real Indian problem. ‘Just get me a guy to stand in queue for me.’

Well, here it is. All you have to do is log onto their website or call them. Then enter your details and wait for them to confirm your request. Ola! All done.

According to startup, the idea is to provide convenience to the customers. Their services include “on-demand helpers for basic cleaning, help in shifting, pre or post-house party help, help in religious get-together, market help, and grocery shopping from nearby stores etc.”

They claim that all ‘chotus’ are above 18 years old, and by using the name ‘chotu’ they do not mean to offend anyone. Incidentally, for those who do not know, ‘chotu’ is the most common name that middle-class Indians address their household help as.

YourStory contacted founder and CEO Satjeet Singh Bedi through an email but is yet to hear from him (we will update the post once he responds).

feature
A 'cashless' society in the making.

Earlier, many startups wrote to us about how they are solving customer woes in the times of demonetisation. Here are some of them that you may find helpful.

Razorpay, an online payments platform, recently unveiled its latest product terming it “innovative”, called, eCOD, to help e-commerce companies accept payments at the time of delivery using payment methods other than cash. The product is aimed to replace ‘Cash on Delivery’ and provide relief to online merchants impacted by the phasing out of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

CashNocash.com, a crowdsourced site supported by Quikr and Nasscom, was launched in Bengaluru recently. "Based on the crowdsourced information, the site helps users across India find the nearest ATM, bank or post-office to get insights on cash availability and waiting time in queues for cash exchange or withdrawal," their press note says. It also offers users a chance to report this information back to the site thereby contributing to real-time updates at each mapped cash point.

A couple of other apps that help you find an ATM with cash include Walnut, CMS ATMFinder, and ATMSearch. Though how much of a help these have been only the users can tell. Meanwhile, I am still trying to reach BookMyChotu over the phone. Have to replenish my stock of Rs 100 notes; it has been a week since I’m living on borrowed cash.

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