Thoughtless demonetization has created economic anarchy: 90% innocent people suffer hardships

demonetizeGautam Thaker*

Due to demonetization hardships of common men aggravated with ever changing promulgation by the Government on every day. The queues for exchanging notes mainly consist of senior citizens, rural workers, daily wage-earners, farmers, petty service providers, office-goers right up to house-wives. These people have been struggling for last more than 10 days to exchange their hard-earned monetary notes.

Not a single higher-middle income group person, eminent doctor or lawyer, administrative service officer, political leader, major trader, industrialist or police officer is found in the queue. The Supreme Court of the country has observed “The decision of demonetization does not appear like a surgical strike but looks like sparking off a carpet bomb on the people. It cannot be said that whosoever has a note of Rs. 500 or of Rs. 1000 can be categorized as possessing black money. You can make surgical strike against black money but not against the countrymen.”

Once more the Supreme Court by twisting the ears of the rulers has admonished that the problem of long queues before the banks and the ATMs is becoming serious day by day and it is feared that it can result in to riots. If there is no improvement in the present situation then the anarchy may become even more serious. Hence appropriate steps must be taken to immediately control the situation. People are fuming with anger and you cannot stop them from approaching the court. In fact, an atmosphere has been created as if economic anarchy has now spread all throughout.

Both, rulers and the RBI were unprepared to handle this suddenly emerged responsibility. Due to economic anarchy spread throughout India about 55 persons have lost their lives. Entire economy of the country has been at stand still. If preparations were going on for replacement of notes since six months then why the people are subjected to hardships now? There was no concrete planning at all on the part of either the rulers or the RBI.

Due to unplanned policy decision great anarchy has arisen. RBI had not prepared any scheme at all. When it was aware that out of country’s money circulation of Rs. 17013 billion if Rs. 14631 billion that is 86 % comprise of notes of value of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 then why new currency notes of Rs. 500 and of smaller value were not kept in readiness duly printed beforehand? Well the decision has been taken but more and more anarchy has emerged. For last 10 days decisions are changed every now and then, which include limit for exchange of notes, amount for withdrawal, dates for exemptions etc. Upon careful observation of the entire situation it can be concluded that the Finance Ministry and RBI have thoroughly failed and they were not up to the mark in the advance planning. Government’s abrupt decision without adequate advance preparation has hard hit the masses.

The time slot chosen by the Government is also thoughtless and wrong. While the wedding season is in full swing all over the country if the decision of demonetization would have been taken during the inauspicious ‘Kamurta’ spell from 14th December until ‘Uttarayana’ then it would have been quite proper. At the same time in this entire process the farmers are very much unhappy because while they have reached to the market along with their crops but there is no payment. What will they do by receiving cheque from the Market Yard or the APMC? In the villages there are no nationalized banks and ban has been placed over the Co-Operative banks.

The Prime Minister is adding fuel to the fire. In public speeches he states that “poor are sleeping soundly while the rich have sleepless nights. We have made made highly placed persons to stand in the queue.” As a matter of fact, affluent and powerful rich are enjoying quiet sleep after having systematically and smoothly managed their black money whereas the poor have been rendered wakeful, facing the starvation like situation.

They do not have enough money even to buy sleeping pills. In the entire country, worst affected class is that of middle class and the have-nots. After having realized that economy anarchy has spread all throughout the country because of demonetization the P.M. is playing the acting of ‘weeping’ or ‘crying’. Due to demonetization daily wage-earners have been hard hit. Farmers are without fertilizers and workers are without jobs.

The country has been passing through economic crisis. Whereas the GDP Growth Rate was good and inflation well within the anticipated range then where was the need to cancel the currency notes?

The ex-Governor of RBI, Mr. Raghu Rajan has even said that there are many other options to unearth black money than to resort to demonetization. To deal with this problem other tactful schemes should be made use of. The organizations known to be supporters of the ruling party have also told in clear terms that even after the step of demonetization, the root problem has remained ‘as it is’. Due to this step of demonetization the common men and the working class have been compelled to queue up to exchange and receive their hard-earned cash money. Famers do not have money even to buy fertilizers or seeds.

The task of transforming this decision into reality has indeed become very tough. This is not an appropriate step. The media agencies of the country and the world have stated that this decision appears like a serious miscalculation. Modi has not talked in his administration on the economic front but has placed emphasis only on the political matters. Hence it is clearly seen that presently, the competency or efficiency of the Government has been thoroughly derailed or paralyzed.

In fact in such a situation if Government wants to get some relief then it should despatch mobile cash vans so that people in the remote places can get their money as early as possible. More and more notes of value of Rs. 500 and Rs. 100 should be printed and made available to the people. While hardly 2.86 crore people possess plastic money out of 125 crore strong population of the country such a decision becomes inevitable.

Government should not lose sight that it is its duty to see to it that the common men, remotely placed and the poor people should not face any difficulty in getting the money earned from the sweat of their brow. Government should now seriously think over and bring a solution out of their turmoil. It should also keep in the mind that inflation and other price rise cannot be tackled merely by demonetization. There is no need at all to mislead the people by tall talks on patriotism, nationalism and national interest. In fact the Prime Minister needs to improve the bank’s position by arresting 5610 defaulters so as to recover the non-performing assets (NPA) of Rs. 5.93 lakh crores. He also needs to browse the history that such a step has not met with success nowhere in the world.

This step has met with failure in Russia, Korea, Ghana, Nigeria, Myanmar etc. countries. Every where the poor people have suffered heavily whereas the rulers and the people’s representatives are in sound and carefree sleep instead of going amidst the people. Government and the RBI, both have thoroughly and miserably failed in this entire episode.

*People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat

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