India

India social media marks the first month of rupee ban

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Media captionShilpa Kannan reports from Delhi on Indian app firms' response to the currency move

Thursday marks one month since India's government made a surprise announcement that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes would be banned in an effort to curb corruption. Indian social media users are predictably marking the "milestone" as only they can, says the BBC's Ayeshea Perera.

The weeks since the government decision have been marked by a severe cash crunch in India, and long lines outside banks and ATM machines which are fast running out of money.

Both Twitter and Facebook have been talking of little else, and the two social media sites are currently the site of a war of hashtags and trends on "demonetisation", as the move is popularly known here in India.

The first notable trend on Twitter was #Demonetizemovietitles, which was trending all of Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning.

Suggestions included "The Silence Of The Banks", "500/1000 Shades Of Grey" and "The Fault In Our Notes".

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Many of the "demonetised titles" however, were modifications of popular Bollywood movie titles like 'My Name is Khan (My Name is Cash) and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Ae Withdrawal Hai Mushkil, or I Have a Problem Withdrawing Money).

It didn't take long for supporters of the government move to mobilise forces, however, and by Thursday afternoon the most popular "demonetisation" trend was #IndiaDefeatsBlackMoney - a reference to the government's stated intention of bringing illegal and undeclared wealth out into the open.

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The hashtag was first tweeted from the official Twitter account of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who wrote: "Together, we must ensure #IndiaDefeatsBlackMoney. This will empower the poor, neo-middle class, middle class & benefit future generations."

This was immediately taken up as a battle cry of sorts among government supporters on Twitter.

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Though not everyone using the hashtag seemed to be buying into the same sentiment:

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Another phrase picking up traction on the social media network is "Pay to Modi" after opposition leader Rahul Gandhi quipped that the name of popular mobile wallet app PayTM was actually an acronym for "Pay to Modi". This was a reference to Mr Modi's push for Indian citizens to go cashless - a move that has particularly benefited companies like PayTM.

Mr Gandhi's Congress party has been a vocal opponent of the rupee ban, saying that it has harmed only the poor.

Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a respected economist who is also a member of the Congress, had earlier rubbished the move calling it "monumental mismanagement".

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The social media chatter comes even as parliamentarians prepare to debate a motion on the move and as media report that hardships and chaos continue across the country.

Mr Modi had initially asked the people to give his government until 30 December to sort out the situation, but in subsequent speeches, India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that it could take another six months before things go back to normal.