The news of demonetization hit me in a hotel room in Gurgaon. The next day, since I had to crisscross between Gurgaon and Delhi, I was forced to shell out the last of the remaining 100 rupee notes I had, at toll booths (this was before the government announced a few days of toll relief).
I personally support the demonetization move for a number of reasons. The first being the sudden decapitation of the arm that funds terrorist activities within India and terror funding has surely taken a big hit due to this. Terrorism remains a bigger and broader issue at the moment – not just in India, but across the globe and any move that unsettles the terror funding network in our country has to be good for us. Modi-baiters say that stone-throwing in Kashmir has been on the wane for a month now, but from the time this move was announced, not one incident has been reported. With tongue firmly in cheek, I assume this is a mere coincidence! The other advantage of this move is that of the body blow it deals to the fake currency (and hawala) market in our country. The volume of counterfeit notes pumped into our country from across our porous borders is so voluminous, that it has almost become a parallel mode of business, along with the ubiquitous black market economy. In one masterstroke the government has broken the back of this dubious economy. With the new notes being circulated in the markets, RBI now has a better hold on the cash-flow in our country – something like wiping the slate clean and starting all over again. This move also encourages people to move towards a cashless society, where e-wallets and online banking transactions become the norm. Surprisingly, the driver of the private taxi we had hired in Delhi gave me us bank details, so that we could transfer money online to him. From the time this was announced, I have gone past a lot of banks, and did not see a single incidence of violence or agitation among the people. Everyone stood in an orderly fashion and waited for their turn to exchange old notes, and bank employees also went out of their way to help people out. I have spoken to people from the lower strata of the society (maids, house helps, taxi drivers, vegetable vendors) and all of them unequivocally support this move. There have been various instances of ATMs running out of cash, which is to be expected in a populous country like ours. Anyone who has studied change management will agree that whenever there is a disruptive technology introduced in the market, there will be chaos till the change is accepted. As for the reports of people dying while waiting outside banks, most of them have been proved to be unrelated to demonetization – more the work of spin doctors.
But the biggest reason for me supporting this move is that we finally have a Prime Minister who is willing to take risks. The last time this happened was when Narasimha Rao in tandem with Manmohan Singh opened up the Indian economy. Since independence Indian regimes have been wallowing in paralysis when it comes to taking bold decisions. Any economist of repute will vouch that moving forward the economy of a progressive country requires a bit of calculated risk-taking, and this is what this move is. But I am appalled by the reactions of the opposition leaders and mainstream English media. Politicians of all hues have been affected by this move – including the ones from the incumbent government, which is what makes this an eximious move. But shedding crocodile tears and hiding your ulterior motive behind the permeable façade of the “common man” (who seems to be bearing it all with a wry smile) exposes them for the crooks they are! Burning expensive fuel in a super-luxury sedan while visiting an ATM reeks of rank opportunism rather than genuine empathy! I wonder why none of these dolts ever sympathize with families of deceased soldiers – someone who lays down his life so that you are safe in your homes, surely deserves it. I am yet to see any constructive reporting of demonetization in the English media. Every newspaper (and electronic media) only seems to be covering the chimerical anguish and agony of the “man on the street”. I suspect that this is what they have been asked to project, by their cash-rich masters – it’s a known fact that Indian media houses are “owned” by industrialists, and industrialists are usually associated with you-know-what in India…
All this just confirms something that I doubted for the past two years – Narendra Modi is the most hated man among India’s opposition parties, mainstream English media and faux liberals. If a man is capable of generating so much abhorrence, he must surely have done something right! Before I am accused of pleonasm, let me end by saying that there is a possibility that this “demon”etization may not succeed, but don’t we all agree that everyone has to go through the worst to get the best!