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Queries Of The Common Man In His Quandary

Queries Of The Common Man In His Quandary

Indian Prime Minister Modi’s demonetisation has put the common people in a fix with his quick-fix venture to ferret out unaccounted money.  All of a sudden they became suspect of hoarding unaccounted money. That means black money.

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen did not mince words: “At one stroke the move declares all Indians — indeed all holders of Indian currency — as possibly crooks, unless they can establish they are not.” (Seema Chishti, Indian Express, Nov. 26).

Hence, they are marshalled out of their homes onto the public road for an open court trial. Their travail and endurance test will bring the Prime Minister of India laurels in the eyes of the world.

The common man lost in a quandary asks the powers that are some searching questions. He has only questions. He has no answers:

How come the government needed to bleed the common folks in order to fill the coffers of cash-starved banks to bridge the gap of the bad loans incurred by corporate houses?

Was demonetisation not meant to divert attention from black money stashed abroad?

How easy it is to convert so soon India’s 86 percent cash economy and 97 percent cash transactions (in volume) into digital money economy?

Who is responsible for eighty plus people’s death resulting from demonetisation catastrophe? Can those responsible be not booked for murder under IPC?

How does one justifiably explain the following reported facts?

A loss of ₹ 7000 crore incurred by small and medium industries of Ghaziabad within 15 days of demonetisation.

Mumbai, India’s financial capital, is incurring a loss of ₹ 325 crore daily.

Aesochem report says that the human resource loss incurred during the first four days of demonetisation was ₹ one lakh sixteen thousand crore per day.

L & T removed 14,000 workers, equivalent to 11% of its total employees, while Rajasthan Industries suffered a loss of ₹ 100,000 crore so far. What about the forced exodus of workers from farms, factories, estates, workshops, small scale industries etc. in different parts of India?

Is it just a small inconvenience for their families whose breadwinners are forced out of their workplace due to the so-called financial emergency? Job loss since demonetisation is reported to be 400,000.

Rupee value dipped to 68.5 per dollar. Is it not expected to dip further?

Only 6% of black money was reportedly in cash while the rest accounts for foreign balances, real estate, gold, etc. For this six percent why bleed the citizens to death?

When 53 percent Indians have no bank account and, according to World Bank Gallop Survey, ‘43 percent of the total bank accounts are dormant,’ and when 97% rural women are e-illiterate, how will digital cash transaction take effect?

In the attempt to ferret out black money and to choke terrorist routes, how come black money in the form of unaccounted new currency is found in the hands of terrorists, many politicians and party agents?

If demonetisation was to control fake currency, then how come fake 2,000 notes appeared within a week in different parts of India following the introduction of its new avatar while the banks go dry?

If demonetisation plan was kept a tight-lipped secret, how come BJP’s West Bengal unit was reported to have deposited ₹ 3 crore a few hours before the announcement?

How could a BJP leader post pictures of wads of ₹2,000 ahead of demonetisation? What were his links and sources?

What about Modi’s 2014 election promise of bringing black money stashed away in Swiss banks in order to make every Indian rich by ₹  15 lakh within the first hundred days of his being elected ?

Was it not a calculated move ‘in reducing the cash of the opposition parties to trash and thereby weakening them’ before the forthcoming by-elections?

Is it that easy for Modi to go after the black money in Swiss accounts because a good slice of it reportedly belongs to Modi-philes and Modi-bhakts?

According to ex-RBI deputy governor K C Chakrabarty, banks are flush with scrap paper in the form of old ₹ 500 and 1000. In his opinion, ‘The RBI will take six months to replace these and banks will have to pay 4 percent interest on those deposits. Only sometime later banks will be able to lend. There is no credit demand from the rich.’ (HT, Nov.21). In this melee who wins and who loses?

If 80 percent of Indian women do not have bank account (UNDP Report, 2015), how easy it is to demonetise cash economy?

Why is it that poor people are punished by forcing them to deposit in the cash starved banks in order to write off unpaid debts of 63 wilful defaulters to the tune of 70,000 million?

Why no attempt is made to control the black money of politicians/parties who use 75 percent of black money in electioneering?

Why are the political parties kept out the purview of RTI when they are said to be ‘fountainheads of corruption’?

What answer can the ruling dispensation give to those families where their dear ones breathed their last because the family members were unable to get their white money from banks on time due to mile-long queues or because banks ran out of cash?

If demonetisation was planned long ago and preparations were done well, as the government claims, how come not enough currency was printed for supplying to banks to ease transaction congestion and customer harassment?  For this lack of foresight why is the public punished? Has it been a ‘small inconvenience’ as Mr. Modi announced?

If the rupee is a promissory note, isn’t the government bound to honour its promise by giving me my deposited white money instead of turning me back by saying there is no cash in the bank or that enough money has not yet been printed?

If a cheque bounces due to insufficient bank balance, the law catches up with you to punish you.  And, here, when you demand your deposited money from the bank and when you are told there is insufficient fund, should not those responsible be booked under the same law?  Or, are we to be satisfied with Orwell’s Animal Farm principle: All are equal, but some are more equal?

Why are banks running out of cash while the new currency is floating in crores, not just lakhs, in different parts of the country? How could anti-socials get hold of such huge sums under the ever watchful eye of the ‘Big Brother’? Who has put them into their hands while the common people are unable to get their deposited money even for their ordinary needs?

In just one month since demonetisation new Indian  currency in crores was found  all over India thereby  pointing to the connivance of bank officials, middlemen, money changers, hawala dealers, et al. ₹ 3.5 crore in Delhi from two persons; ₹ 4.7 crore in Karnataka; ₹ 6 crore in Goa; ₹ 33 lakh of ₹ 2,000 new notes from former BJP leader Mahesh Sharma; ₹ 1.5 crore in Goa; ₹70 crore in Chennai; ₹ 1.57 crore in Surat, Gujarat; ₹ 24 crore from a car in Vellore; ₹ 7.2lakh in Bilwara, Rajasthan, ₹ 5.7 crore in Karnataka and so on. The list is getting longer as days go by. For ferreting out black money in old notes citizens were thrown out on the road. Here there is black money in new currency in crores with party people, hawala operators, money changers and other influential elements. Raids may take place, but will we ever come to know the source of the leakage?

Is it a joke that senior economists and Nobel laureates are criticizing the Indian demonetisation exercise? Amartya Sen’s description is apt. Demonetisation “is a small fry in terms of achievement but a big disruptor to the Indian economy” and “the lives of law-abiding citizens and white-money holding people will be that much harder.” (Interview to NDTV) When will wisdom dawn on our rulers?

What prompted Manmohan Singh, ex-governor of RBI, ex-finance minister and ex-Prime Minister of India, to describe the action of the government as ‘monumental mismanagement’ and ‘organised loot and legalised plunder’?  

Why is even Modi’s traditional support base crumbling as the traders are downing their shutters and saying: Agale election me Modi hava me ud jaega (Come next election, Modi will evaporate into thin air)?

Wasn’t there wisdom in the Supreme Court’s observation that if the suffering of common people continues as the effect of demonetisation, there is bound to be open revolt?

(Published on 19th December 2016, Volume XXVIII, Issue 51)#