A nation in hot pursuit of currency!
A nation of more than a billion people was rendered cashless (virtually penniless) from midnight of Nov 8. With one stroke of pen Narinder Modi, Prime Minister of India demonetised a sizeable part of Indian currency. Obviously, Modi before announcing and implementing demonetisation decision might have given due consideration to merits and demerits of such a huge and a risky monetary exercise. But on ground it looks different. In his late-night broadcast to nation on 8th November he tried his best to convince people about his plan with an emphasis on curbing black money, checking corruption and parallel economy. Such a decision was in the offing after expiry of ‘Income Declaration Scheme’, latest chance for voluntarily disclosure of black money under a specially devised amnesty scheme. But, swiftness and the enormity of demonetisation surprised almost every Indian. Everybody was caught off-guard! Many people with political interests speculate about hidden political agenda within such swift demonetisation plan and accused Modi and his associates of political exploitation and selective leakage before announcing the big bombshell. Whatever the intentions of Modi, both personal and political, apparently the whole plan seems to serve the purpose of curbing monstrous corruption? However, beyond swiftness and surprise element interpreted as fundamentals of secrecy the scheme was not well planned and well thought in a sense that no common-man should suffer for want of cash and inconvenience on part of changing the genuine currency. No doubt, corruption and tax evasion resulting in huge black money run a parallel economy in India and create hurdles in development and growth along with degrading quality and efficiency to a great extent. With piling black money with few Indians, Indian poor are getting poorer and rich become richer with every passing day. Black money has turned whole Indian politics into a cesspool. India with a large number of qualified and efficient manpower; huge infrastructure and resources could very comfortably create a respectable place in world economy. However, its corrupt face blackened with black money makes every investor and entrepreneur to think twice. The diversity within Indian system and a big population works as a magnificent mask to hide Indian corruption and parallel economy, but at the end of the day most of the Indians who suffer economically, socially and administratively out of menacing corruption and black money know the real pain. Modi with his demonetisation plan tried to explore or exploit pain of common-man and is either trying to give a soothing healing touch to desperately poor lot or extracting a political harvest out of it. This all lies between Modi and his Creator.
On the face of it, whole demonetisation process looks a decision conceived by looking through common-man’s prism, but the element of surprise and swiftness made it awkward and cumbersome. Political outbursts against Modi and his demonetisation decision by his political opponents apart, the whole exercise with very less preparedness has put the nation in distress. May be the intentions of Modi and his political and administrative colleagues are honest and genuine, but his lack of preparedness in conducting such a huge task and managing its aftereffects have put the whole process in dock. Long serpentine queues outside banks with little cash have diluted the basic concept of this massive decision of checking black money and corruption. For almost two weeks now, shortage of currency notes and overall cash crunch situation has tired the entire Indian population. Almost all businesses establishments, particularly the retail and service sector are badly hit. The liquidity factor within the Indian economy (market to be precise) got worse. Even many genuine currency holders are yet to reach and approach the banks. Especially, the rural folks are yet to coup up with the shock and decide about their worthless fortune. With changing stance with every passing day, the federal government and its leadership show signs of nervousness and their lack of preparedness. Undoubtedly, any rollback at this point is not only impossible but suicidal. Though, some relaxation and radical improvement in implementation without any political animosity will not only give desired results, but will save the nation from going into confusion. Thank God, Kashmir with more than four months of unrest has developed a diverse level of immunity against such financial chaos. With limit on changing old currency and restriction on cash withdrawal most of Indians are without money and for last several days almost all people are in hot pursuit of currency notes.