Cover Story : ‘Note’Worthy Qs
-Nishant Kr Azad-
Despite the queues and questions, common people are in support of the daring decision. The resilience of the masses can recalibrate our economic structures
“Saaheb, I know that I am unable to pay my auto installment this month because of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, still I am with Modiji in this fight against black money. We all know how Pakistan damages our economy by
flowing crores of duplicate 500 and 1,000 notes in our country and helps anti-India elements,” was the understanding of an auto-driver Radheyshyam, who shared his opinion when I asked him about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
Modi’s decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was surely a heart
breaking decision for many who had lakhs of crores worth of black money but a welcome decision for most of the common men who earn every single penny honestly. While BJP is terming it as a masterstroke, the parties in Opposition i.e Congress, BSP, SP, TMC etc are raising the issue of inconvenience to the common people.
Nobody can deny with the fact that public is facing issues in exchanging the old notes and there are long queues at the banks and the move has brought financial chaos in the country. Similar situation arose in 1978 when Morarji Desai demonetised Rs 10,000 and 5,000 notes and a three day time limit was given to exchange the old currency. The major difference is quantum of high demonetisation notes in the economy which has seen staggering growth from 3 per cent to 85 per cent. Certain questions are erupting in everybody’s mind regarding rationale and possible impact of Modi’s decision. Here are some effects in spite of the initial hiccups:
While JD (U) Chief and Chief Minister of Bihar openly supported the PM Modi’s move and also demanded action against people having ‘benami’ properties, most of the regional or national parties criticised Modi for this action. With nearly five State elections due in 2017, demonetisation has stunned political parties, especially, in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. The move has hit the political parties as well as the candidates, most of whom lure voters with cash. According to the sources, parties which have got badly affected are AAP, BSP and SP. As many parties have been critical of demonetisation, janata understands their motive behind getting vocal against demonetisation.
One of the senior politician on request of anonymity said, “Money plays a big role in elections. Almost all the political parties will face crisis in coming elections. This step of Modi is a big blow for political parties”. Former Chief Commissioner SY Quraishi also supported the move and welcomed Modi’s decision. He said, “The step will definitely have a positive impact on the election system but more steps needed to tackle the problem of black money in polls.”
Chaos in public, why?
By visiting many ATM counters and talking to people, I come to know that large group of common man is facing problems in withdrawing their money but they are happy with the decision of scrapping notes. It is difficult for those who are not well versed with the card transactions. “There is some temporary inconvenience but it’s a great move,” said Sudhanshu Pathak, a vegetable vendor.
How violence in J&K has suddenly stopped?
Since the Modi’s decision of demonetisation of high currency notes came into effect, terror funding has come down to zero in J&K. Stone pelting and other subversive activities virtually came to stand still in Kashmir in recent days. This shows that how the youth of J&K were mislead by separatists and their Pakistani Akkas. Even the schools which were closed since Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani’s encounter are now open with over 94 per cent attendance in schools.
According to intelligence agencies, stone pelters in ghati (Kashmir Valley) were hired by separatists on daily basis. There is a rate lists for everything; for throwing stones at the Army personnel, Rs 100 to Rs 500 and for snatching their weapons the rate is between Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000.
While talking to an expert on Jammu & Kashmir issue, Jaibans Singh said, “There were two main reasons for taking this bold step. The first was to check black money market in the
country and the second more important reason was to destroy the network of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN).”
“FICN are being printed by inimical foreign forces and spread into the Indian market to weaken the Indian economy and more significantly to sustain terrorism, especially so in J&K. In the Kashmir Valley, on the outside there seems to be a state of absolute calm. There are not many queues outside banks and the impression in Kashmir is one of business as usual.”
“There are, however, strong indicators of the manner in which this action by the Government has caused panic among the disruptive forces. The State Board Examinations for Class 10 and Class 12 students that started on November 14 are witnessing more than 94 per cent attendance. Notably, the separatist forces had sent out diktats that the examination should not be allowed to take place. The short term indicators give reason to believe that in the long term terrorist and separatist activity in the State, particularly in the Kashmir Valley, will be severely hit since proliferation of FICN was maximum is J&K. With the absence of cash and Hawala conduits it will be next to impossible for the foreign forces to sustain their activities in the State. The move would definitely bring about a paradigm shift in the situation of the Valley for the better”, he added.
How demonetisation affected Naxalites?
Naxalalites got a financial hit by the Government’s recent move of demonetisation. It is known to everyone that Naxalites owns a long list of foreign and anti-India elements funding to buy arms and ammunition and to pay their cadres. According to the media reports, following the announcement of demonetisation, Naxals have stashed over Rs 7,000 crore at their dumps in Bastar region. This step is definitely a big blow for them.
How currency demonetisation to shake up Real Estate?
It is an open secret that most of the transactions in the Real Estate sector involve high amount of unaccounted money. We saw a sharp hype in the properties in last decade. It is because of the involvement of black money in sale and purchase of land, houses and many more. Real Estate prices may now see a sharp drop. Modi’s tough move will hit the Real Estate market, already under recession.
A local Real Estate consultant Amit Oberoi said, “The move is likely to hit properties. Since most transactions are done in cash. Prices are likely to dip by as much as 20-25 per cent in coming days. With black money suddenly being wiped out from the market, many investors who have been investing in projects with unaccounted money will be eliminated.
How this step boosts ‘Digital India’ ?
The surprise move of scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 could be a game changer for Modi’s dream of Digital India. Just after demonetisation move, people have started adopting virtual wallets to buy daily groceries at many places. People are opting for online transactions because of shortage of cash in market. General stores and vegetable vendors have installed Debit Card Machines and using different Apps like Paytm to receive payments.
Why mood of the nation is in favour of Modi’s decision?
Before Modi Government, no political party dared to act against black money holders. Modi is fulfilling his poll promise of weeding out black money from the country. According to the surveys conducted by different media groups, more than 80 per cent of the people are happy with the decision taken by the Government contrary to the claims of the politicians. Piyush Singh, a student said, “I have only Rs 110 in my pocket and don’t know what to do. We all are facing problems in withdrawing money from ATM, and banks. It is a temporary chaos and everything is going to be alright within few weeks. We have to support this move for our better future.”
Bank Manager of OBC Kamal Arora, Paharganj Branch, Delhi said, “A daring move of Modi to bring out black money. Some senior citizens struggling in the queues and we are facing their anguish but still most of them are appreciating PM’s move.”
The results of this step will be known in the coming months. The Central Government is getting support from the people on this issue. However some people are contemplating that if the problem is not resolved soon it may turn into anger. The Government must increase supply of new currency in
market and expedite the work of ATMs soon to make the situation normal.