Eidi: euphemism for splurging billions


Otherwise inflation-stricken Pakistanis, some 79 million or 43 percent of which an independent survey suggests live under poverty line, appear to be extravagantly bounteous on religious festivities like Eid-ul-Fitr.
During the three-day annual festival, which is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramazan, the Muslims across Pakistan distribute billions of rupees among the children as what is locally called “‘Eidi’.
According to official banking sources, last year the Eid celebrators gave away ‘Eidi’ worth over Rs 111 billion. Traditionally, the ‘Eidi’ is given in fresh currency notes that are specially arranged by the central bank every year.
“We had issued fresh currency notes worth over Rs 111 billion during last Ramazan,” Syed Wasimuddin, chief spokesman of the State Bank of Pakistan, told Pakistan Today.
The SBP spokesman had, however, no idea what would be the volume of fresh banknotes, to be distributed as ‘‘Eidi’’, this year. “It varies from year to year,” he said.
The new currency notes are issued through a large network of over 10,000 branches of commercial banks which on Monday were notified by the State Bank to facilitate the general public in obtaining fresh currency notes during the holy month.
The distributable bank notes are usually of small denominations ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 100.
The SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP BSC) has made elaborate arrangements for the supply of adequate quantity of fresh currency notes to commercial banks depending upon their branch network.
According to the central bank, the bank branches would issue only one packet each of Rs 10 and Rs 20 per person to the visiting general public and their account holders.
The notes would be handed to masses from August 1 till the last working day before the Eid or until the exhaustion of bank’s currency stock.
Those wanting the notes would have to present their original Computerized National Identity Card along with a photocopy of it for record. The corporate clients of the banks, however, would be allowed to get a maximum of 5 packets each of Rs 10 and Rs 20 denomination fresh notes. The clients would have to show a formal request on their company’s letter head duly signed by the authorized representative.