NEW DELHI — India’s monetary system was thrown into a crisis Nov. 8 when the government unexpectedly scrapped its high-value rupee notes for new bills as a way to target millions of tax evaders and their presumed stashes of “black money,” which is income not reported to the government. About a quarter of India’s gross domestic product comes from this shadow economy, according to the Finance Ministry, and few Indians pay income taxes.

Many ordinary citizens praised the move initially. But the long lines at banks and ATMs continue, salaries have been delayed and patience is wearing thin.

Meanwhile, those in India for whom dealing in undeclared cash is a way of life are coming up with creative ways to dispose of their now-useless wads of money:

1. Gold smuggling

Normally, gold is smuggled into India, the world’s second-largest consumer of the precious metal, viewed by many of the Hindu faith as sacred. Yet one man was recently arrested at the airport in Mumbai trying to smuggle gold out of the country, the Hindustan Times reported. Pranav Shashikant Chauhan was stopped by customs trying to board a flight from Canada via Dubai with a one kilogram gold bar and 15 gold bars of 100 grams each, a cache reportedly worth $94,000, the newspaper said. He had allegedly purchased the gold in undeclared currency and was trying to sell the gold for cash out of the country, a customs officer told the newspaper. “We suspect that he was trying to sell the gold either at Dubai or in Toronto,” the officer said.

2. Buying gift certificates and vouchers

Upscale shoppers in New Delhi and elsewhere are turning to boutiques — long attractive destinations for those looking to launder a little cash — that are reportedly still willing to issue gift certificates in exchange for old notes. The vouchers can be redeemed later for luxury goods.

3. Enlisting India’s tribal communities

Two chartered planes landed at an airport in Dimapur, India, in the country’s remote northeast in recent days, raising suspicion from tax officials that some “black money” holders could be joining forces with India’s tax-exempt tribal communities to “rescue slush funds,” the Economic Times newspaper reported. On Tuesday, customs officers seized $4,000 cash in the now-canceled large bills from a chartered plane in northern India. A man from a local tribal community claimed the money was for him. He was later detained, the Times of India reported.

4. Joining forces with a seed-buying farmer

Earlier this week, the government announced that India’s farmers can use the old notes to purchase seed for the current planting season, a help for many in rural India who do not have bank accounts and keep their capital in cash. India’s Department of Economic Affairs had argued against it, saying that the move might become a conduit to offload black money.

5. Temple donations

Donors scurried to give money to nearly 100 temples and trusts after the government’s surprise announcement it was scrapping its high-denomination currency, according to the Press Trust of India. Authorities said that they believe, in some cases, temple heads agreed to deposit the old notes into their bank accounts and return new notes to the donors — taking hefty commission fees in the process.

Indians have until Dec. 30 to exchange their old currency for new notes legally.

Read more: