Demonitization Of Currency- treating the patient, not the disease

Before I start, I would request all the blind followers calling the demonitization scheme as ‘Surgical Strike-II’ that, dear ‘bhakts’, please don’t hack my account or declare me a traitor for having a different opinion, or, i may say, a common man’s opinion on the issue. You are welcome to troll me though on the social network though (good for me) and an issue where after very long the Aam Aadmi Party and i are on the same page.

I am neither an economist nor a finance graduate, but a social scientist who sees common people and their problems in day to day life. And of course, everyone in India has a right to be a political or movie critic as these are the only two things shown on our television sets 25 hours a day helping us develop a deep understanding on both the issues and since it has been 3 days the country has been left cashless, I find this a right time to express my views.

I was traveling back from Jaipur to Delhi on the night of 8th November, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a public appearance and announced the demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee note. As soon as my flight landed my phone was inundated with watsapp messages followed by loud conversations in flight by passengers about the issue. Some were worried as to how would they get back home as they had only 500 & 1000 rupee notes and some looked worried but didn’t want to share the reason- of course I could guess the reason. But I couldn’t believe something like this could have been done on the name of curbing black money as the only measure.

Now, from a common man’s point of view, I have few questions for Modi Government and I would be happy to get a response from them.

  1. Isn’t discontinuing currency like a one time house cleaning exercise done every Diwali, and in this case, you can’t even do that cleaning every year, for obvious reasons well known to economists. This looks like only a onetime cleaning exercise which would not have an impact the government is expecting
  2.  By changing currency notes, you are targeting only the outcome (black money), not the cause (corruption). Has the government setup up measures to control the inflow of black money in past 2 years? Has the government taken strong measures to stop cash transactions? Trust me, until that is done, the system might get clean for a while, but it would again be filled with black money again, and this time, with easier to carry and bigger denomination of INR 2000.
  3. Most of the labour class get their salaries on 7th and Modi ji brought this decision on 8th November leaving most of the labour class with nothing but few pieces of paper in their hands. If Modi ji had a maid/cook/driver to pay for and if he had interacted with the people who are suffering on ground, he would have known how unplanned his move was which has left the common man in chaos.
  4. The current ATM machines are not suited to accommodate the new 500 and 2000 rupee currency notes. Common people are suffering because they are unable to get money, and how could they, since the ATMs are only able to accommodate 100 rupee notes.
  5. What happened to BJPs poll promise or bringing back black money from foreign accounts. What about a strong law to people who stash black money outside India. Is BJP scared because that would unearth the names of some of the fattest business empires of India?
  6. When this whole operation was a top secret and the announcement made only at 8 pm on 8th November, how come Paytm had all the time in the world to buy a front page advertisement for very next day( note: most front page ads are booked in advance) asking people to go cashless by using Paytm. Sounds fishy?

Lastly, with the government having taken this decision with ill-preparedness, the common man is suffering for basic needs; a senior citizen has died today in Mumbai because of exhaustion of standing in long ques, banks do not have enough cash to give to people. This could be a wonderful political move from Mr. Modi keeping in mind the upcoming assembly elections in UP, Goa and Punjab next year but it has left the common man live a situation no less than war or emergency. I would supported the government completely in the fight to end corruption and black money if the intentions were really to do so, but this move seems to have been taken to gain political mileage aims to treat the patient not the disease.