Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Operation Crackpot

Fools rush where angels fear to tread.
Modi government’s move to replace 500 and 1,000 rupee notes with new 500 and 2,000 rupee and later 1,000 notes has been a disaster. The inconvenience for people was supposed to last three days. People with old notes can deposit them up to 31 December 2016. Banks were shut for a day. ATMs were to be shut for two days. Petrol pumps and government hospitals could take old notes for three days. Afterwards everything was supposed to be smooth.
What followed was nightmare for people with white money. Bank customers who had done business for years had to show proof of identity to deposit money. Exchange of old notes to valid notes was limited to 4,000 rupees. ATM withdrawal was limited to 2,000 rupees. After two days most ATMs did not open. Those who opened quickly ran out of money. ATMs had to be recalibrated for 2,000 rupee notes. Out of 2,20,000 ATMs as of 17/11/2016 20,000 ATMs were ready. People had to stand in queue for hours to deposit, withdraw or exchange money. Some slept outside ATMs.
Marriages had to be postponed. Some schools did not accept cheques and students were sent back home. People took leave to stand in queues.
The amounts of withdrawal and exchange were modified. Payment of electricity, gas and water bills by old notes was permitted. For marriage a person could withdraw 2,50,000 rupees. Farmers could withdraw 25,000 rupees against loan per week and traders could withdraw 50,000 rupees per week.
TV coverage was rigged. If two people talked of inconvenience, two people said it was a good move against black money. Short term pain for long term gain, was the statement. In TV studios many journalists were on government side and questioned the patriotism of people who opposed remonetisation or the hardship it caused.
Bank employees had to work long hours. Banks were kept open on second Saturday and Sunday. Use of indelible ink made the process of exchange longer.
Many daily wage earners had no work and no income. Factories reduced work or shut down. Film production suffered. Queues outside theatres vanished.
Modi said rich people were taking sleeping pills, poor were sleeping peacefully. Reality was vastly different. People with black money, except for a few, found ways to whiten their black money. Poor people struggled day after day. Some died standing in queue. Some children died because private hospitals did not accept old notes.
Janardhana Reddy held his daughter’s wedding. Some TV channels claimed the expenditure was 500 crore rupees. Reddy family claimed the expenditure was 30 crore rupees.
Arun Shourie said cash ban was as radical as suicide. Some compared Modi to Tughlaq or Nero or Marie Antoinette.
People with black money are less than one per cent. More than 99% are put to inconvenience due to remonetisation. Taking out 86% of currency from circulation will cripple and damage economy. Some said it was surgical strike against black money. Supreme Court said it was carpet bombing. People with black money will switch to new high denomination notes. It will be black to square one.

Updated: November 19, 2016 — 7:37 am

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  1. The guy is playing a big political game: telling Indians that he is the Savior of the nation. You put up with pains like the soldiers at the border (whom he first put in pains) and then I’ll deliver you from all the pain!

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