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Dictation of Demonetisation : A Derisory Debacle
Ponnala Lakshmaiah
Dictation of Demonetisation : A Derisory Debacle
PHOTO : Demnetization misery continues. TIWN File Photo

•    No sign of black money retrieval
•    No counterfeit money detected
•    No terrorist money annexed
•    People’s Plight Pitiable
•    Disruption to business and daily life.

The ban on big notes is a clear demonstration of this government's doubt, dishonour and disdain towards the 130 crore Indians - for this suspecting government, every citizen appears to be a black money hoarder. Cracking its whip, it released its first lash in the form of demonetization claiming that it would wipe out black money and corruption from the country from the grassroots - the move has turned out to be an utter "boomerang", because it has not achieved its mission. On the contrary, it has left the entire nation traumatized, sending a wave of unrest across the nation right from the very moment. Experts knew life for the common man would never be the same anymore. Optimists thought of it as an uncomfortable yet welcome change, while Economist gurus despised it from day one for the precarious path it would lead the nation into.

Modi's rhetoric left everyone flabbergasted. The move was thought of as a fulfillment of the high- sounding promises that he made in his election campaign. Modi has created an image of a messiah for himself as he motivated the masses with his galvanizing speeches arousing a jingoistic fervor in them. However, the prescience of experts proved to be correct and what we see now, after close to two months is a pure pandemonium and a state of irreversible disorder that has driven the innocent masses into a state of desperation and distress.

Modi's promise of bringing back the black money from 600 stash holders within 100 days of coming into power remains far from fulfilled, equally unkept is the promise of assuring the poor that they will be given Rs 15 lacs once the entire money is back. The idea of demonetization was built on the basis of the concept that the Rs 500 and 1000 notes formed 86% of the currency - amounting to around Rs 15 lac crores and that ban of these notes would reduce the black money and corruption. It was also believed that counterfeit currency could be easily traced and terrorist money could be well-tracked. Yet none of those plans were fruitful.

The decision that looked as capable of holding all the aces now appears to be a trip down the blind alley with no sign of light at the end of the tunnel. There is more than one reason why it is so. Firstly no black money has been traced so far and bigwigs were easily let off from standing in the queues with cash being available to them through back door. In fact it is the poor who were shown the hope that are struggling the most - by bearing the brunt, trying to keep the chin up and still holding on to their hopes - in scorching sun and shivery cold - The list of woes is endless and they live their lives away still trusting Modi's decision. It is disheartening to observe how the innocent people's trust is being exploited,

because ban of currency is not the way to get the black money back - and the way the entire change has been handled deserves repudiation, because the purpose has not yielded any remarkable results. It may be a noble idea, but executed rather awkwardly.

The ban of notes has caused irreparable damages to individuals and businesses and even before people could try to figure a way out of this chaos, Modi has introduced the idea of cashless economy. "Measure twice, cut once" says the carpenter's adage, "Deliberate often, decide once" says Latin wisdom - it is clear that there was no sign of calculation and no homework was done before taking a monumental decision like this and this presumptuously omniscient government, in all its wisdom has cast a death spell in the lives of the poor.

The very idea that was meant to wipe out the disparities among the rich and poor, proves to be actually conniving with black money hoarders who seem to be squandering their wealth as ever and successfully executing efficient ways of blanching their black money - to the extent that even the new 2000 rupee notes that were thought to be effective in tracking black money are being smudged themselves - what an irony!

The nation is not ready to tackle this upheaval - imagine a fledgling thrown off its nest to learn to fly on its own. Whether acquiring cash from an ATM or learning to make a cashless transaction, it has become a daily adventure for the common public that already ekes out a tough livelihood.

The nation's economy is on its way to nadir and its people are suffering more than ever. This entire process of coercion of poor and middle class people into depositing their wealth in intimidating ways testifies the imbecility of this government in making decisions without ever giving a thought to the consequences in an enormously populated country like India. The results of demonetization are far from as predicted.

The income declaration scheme preceding demonetization is another fiasco that yielded no results. Demonetization has proved to be a nightmare in the lives of small farmers and small traders like those that do roadside businesses. The effect of demonetization is quite evident from the decline in state revenues. The government has paid a deaf ear even to the world economists and world media who predicted a sharp decline in growth of GDP in the years to come. On top of it the said goals of retrieval of black money, counterfeit currency and terrorist money are totally irrelevant to demonetization. Then what for do we need demonetisation?

The dream of cashless economy in India is as credible as a holiday on the moon. With a majority of people literally illiterate and the public representatives themselves unaware, this idea of cashless economy is already a complete disaster, because it calls for digital literacy. People have realized the mediocrity of thought and preparation behind the magniloquence of Modi and his daily announcements of new ideas and strategies no longer excite or incite the people of this nation anymore, but invoke fear and frustration.

Ponnala Laxmiah

Former TPCC President and Former Andhra Pradesh Cabinet Minister

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