Economy

Demonetization : From an Alternative Line of Sight

49 years of unruffled reign came to a staggering halt when on a fine Monday morning in May, Mr. Narendra Modi was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India, by successfully establishing majority in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The first time a single party engineered a majority win since 1984. The age old dying fire was rekindled up to raging flames ever since the win. The reality of having to step down just to raise up to hold the position as the opposition party, definitely took a toll on the members.

Ever since then, the grapple for the gleaming title of Prime Minister has been unceasing. Pre and Post-election, the two have been leading head to toe with each other, just to prove the other one wrong. There have been consistent series of arguments over matters pertaining to all the aspects of governance of the party in power. The banter between the two increased after the pronouncement of initiating demonetisation.

Let’s move back in time and re-construct the moments of bewilderment and panic that engulfed the country on the night of 8th November 2016. An unscheduled live television address was aired at 8PM, where the prime minister made an announcement regarding the demonetisation of all 500 and 1000-rupee banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi series. He reasoned out that, demonetising would curb the shadow over the economy and clampdown the usage of counterfeit cash that was rumoured to be funding illegal activity and terrorism. After the swatch Bharat initiative, the implementation of demonetisation was a remarkable pronouncement. Though the country faced protracted cash shortage and the public endured plenty of difficulties, the demonetisation scheme, seemed to remain amongst popular majority for a brief period of time.

Like they always say, ‘Every story has two sides’, this does too. Ever since the news broke out, and banks commenced issuing the new currency, this scheme was slapped with a bundle of criticism. Among the lot, the most frequently lodged complains highlighted on the mere fact on how people belonging to the informal sector were entirely disrupted. This outbreak raised multiple questions about the competency of the government.

The Indian National Congress led opposition along with 13 other political parties in the winter session of the parliament on 16th November 2016. Their argument stated that the “economy and its people are what they are worried for.” A series of rallies, riots and protests broke into the streets. The economy dipped, stocks crashed and ATMs ran out of cash.The commotion and panic eventually faded away, similarly people began accepting the fact that in spite of rigours efforts to reverse the demonetisation rule, it all lead back to square one, Modi’s judgement was the last word.

Although these events occurred in 2016, it floated right back up to the surface when Mr. Rahul Gandhi had a little more than just his thoughts to express about this. On 30th of August 2018, the RBI’s report made a revelation stating that 98.96% of the withdrawn currency during demonetisation has been returned to the bank. Arun Jaitley said that people being compelled to deposit even black money into banks itself, was a good evidence of its success.

The following day, Rahul Gandhi was furious when he was addressing the press conference. He openly, made a statement which said that demonetisation was “the country’s biggest scam” and that it was a well-intended move to help 15-20 crony capitalists who were waiting to convert their black money to white. He added that it was to help the richest and the “most corrupt” and that Mr. Modi did it and devastated the economy. Mr. Gandhi said that Modi did an “irreversible damage” and is answerable to the common man. He also demanded Modi to give an apology to the nation for the trouble he caused.

Now, it sure is interesting how the situation was turned and directed to be viewed from an another perspective. Thinking about it, during demonetisation, the claims of the government as far as we were made aware by the media were that which specified the said scheme to be a highly confidential issue, only a special team of the RBI were let in on the discussion because of obvious reasons. The printing of new currency had commenced 5-6 months earlier or more. There are minute possibilities of the acquisitions that were made against the team which may actually have shone light upon the truth. Supporting the previously made statement, suspiciously the said “rich people” did not seem to have any complications. Though there is space for other reasons, it does direct one’s mind towards a mere chance of the above stated taking place.

The party making these acquisitions are, or may not be clean themselves. But being the opposition or rather ‘the watch dog’ of the government, this sure is a strong enough analogy to begin to steer the majority towards them.Yet again, we are never fully aware of the ongoing events behind the structure of the parliament, so even if the demonetisation was just a big scam where poor were ripped of off their money and that money was fed to the rich, it is all under wrapped covers.

Picture Credits : india.com



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