Random Reflections- Demonetisation – The cruel joke on the People
After demonetisation on November 8, 2016, seeing the anger of the people, on Nov 13 PM Modi in an emotionally choked speech in Goa said “I have asked the country for just 50 days. If after December 30, there are short comings in my work or there are mistakes or a bad intention found in my work, I will be prepared for the punishment that the country decides for me”
He also stated, “This is a 70 year old disease I have to eliminated in 17 months. I am looting what they have accumulated in 70 years”. He also warned of more projects to fight corruption. (As reported in Hindustan Times)
If you watch the video of the speech you will agree that Modiji is a better actor than superstars like Amitabh Bachchan and Sivaji Ganesan.
The objectives told by Modi on Nov 8 were, abolition of black money, fake notes, corruption and ending terrorism.
Later on, when they found in their anticipation that Rs.3-4 lakh crores will not come back to RBI, (in reality out of 15.41 lakh crores of invalidated notes Rs.15.31 lakh crores returned to RBI), they changed the goals to include cashless economy.
Now the PM says, “Demonetisation has helped to reduce black money, increase tax compliance and formalisation, and given a boost to transparency. These outcomes have been greatly beneficial towards national progress.”
How long can he fool the people of this country? Is it not necessary for a leader to accept the mistakes? To achieve this there was no need for demonetisation.
Let’s have a look at the reality. We see the largest use of cash in elections. Is it not black money? We see crores of money spent to purchase MLAs. Is it not black money? Is it not corruption? Rs.2000 notes are seldom available even in ATMs. Where are they going?
During Nov 2016, Mr. P. Chidambaram stated that he has doubts that new currency has reached the hands of individuals directly from RBI printing press without going to the banks.
It appears true for three reasons.
There were 155 well documented cases of seizure of huge amount of new currency from individuals. Not a single case has led to punishment. A classic case is former chief secretary of Tamil Nadu and a contractor in Tamil Nadu. The officer was reinstated and now he has retired on superannuation. The contractor is member of Tirupati Devasthanam Board now.
The amount of Rs.2000 & Rs.500 notes used in election across the country by the ruling party.
RBI and banks had full details of serial Nos. of new notes. If the CBI and other agencies would have wanted to find the source from which new currencies in crores reached persons with political connections it could have been very easy. Even now RBI is not bringing out a white paper and absolutely there is no transparency.
Fake currency, corruption and terrorism
As per RBI data in the last 4 years 18.87 lakh pieces of fake currency were seized. We don’t know how much is in circulation. It has become easy to print Rs.2000 notes and fake currency is now very difficult to differentiate due to high quality printing.
Has corruption ended? From registration office to the top people in government, common people know that nothing moves without corruption.
Terrorism continues in different parts of the country. More than what it used to be.
Though there is increase in digital transactions, cash is supreme everywhere.
Currency in circulation
According to RBI Data, from Rs.16.4 Lakh crores in 2016, currency circulation has increased to Rs.24.2 lakh crores in March 2020.
The economy was badly affected, the government has almost become bankrupt and more than 100 people died standing in queue or without money for medical treatment though they had old notes.
Is it not a shame for the Prime Minister to claim success? Will the people punish him as he himself had stated?
Views expressed here are those of Thomas Franco, Former General Secretary of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC)