One hundred days have passed since the Modi government announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000, on 8th November justifying it as a step taken in ‘national interest’.
It’s therefore the responsibility of the Centre to clarify whether the intended benefits of the note-ban have begun to show. There still seems to be no end to the hardships ofthe people. Prime Minister Modi had asked 50 days from the people for the note-ban related difficulties to end. However, the crisis has only began to ease even after a hundred days. Economic stagnancy that has emerged as a consequence of the government decision, is currently gripping the country. According to the experts it would take about 1.5 years to overcome the economic crunch.
Beyond the justifications and political rhetoric, its time the different facts related to the matter are revealed before the nation. The Reserve Bank haven’t so far released the details of the currency that has been returned even 1.5 months after the time limit for depositing the invalid notes into the bank.
Although, there have been reports of invalid currency amounting to Rs 15.44 crore being returned to the bank, no official information have been disclosed. The apprehension that the critics would lambast it as afutile exercise might be the reason. A comprehensive and specific revelation by the government will be the most appropriate in this case.
The note-ban haven’t affected the big corporates much and the minor crunch is being gradually overcome, says the sources. No major dips in the stock market are also being underlined. On the other hand, the small scale enterprises and units have been severely hit. Thousands of destitute villagers who have no means to carry out digital transactions and those outside the organized sectors face difficulties even for daily livelihood. Businesses and industries in several cities are also on the verge of closure due to the radical note-ban move.
The recent statements alone are sufficient to prove how distant the Central government is from the stark reality. While replying to the Motion of Thanks on President Pranab Mukherjee’s address, Modihad said that demonetisation was announced at the right time since ‘the economy was in strong condition’. He also likened the move to a surgery on a healthy body. ‘When can you have an operation? When the body is healthy’, he had said. But bank loans, dip in exports and decline in trade followed. The indicators show that the move was taken at the wrong time of economic debility. Modihowever had remained silent on the 125 deaths caused as a result of note-ban.
Finance Minister ArunJaitely’sstatements in the RajyaSabhathat there was no shortage of notes in the market also show that he too was unaware of the difficulties of common man. While answering questions on the issue, he had told that ‘at no point of time, not for a single day, was the currency inadequate’. Shaktikanta Das, Economic Affairs Secretary,who said that the process of printing new currency notes to replace the invalid notes was complete, also refused to acknowledge the truth. The Finance Minister’s statements that normalcy has been restored in currency operations could only possibly be about some other country. No wonder the credibility of the Government as well as the Centre has been lost.
The hardships of common man would see no end with pronouncements and arguments by the Centre. Neither will the economic repercussions. Those at the top refuse to acknowledge the reality that the step taken for bolstering the country’s economy has resulted in a significant loss of trade and employment. The unemployment rate which was at 5 per cent is also surging up. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut the growth rate for the current fiscal year to 6.6 per cent. Even though the financial advisor of the Centre and the RBI admit these arguments to a great extent, they expect a resurgence soon.
No positive outcomes have been seen till now. The estimates doesn’t give any hope of wiping the country clean of black money, counterfeit currency and corruption as well. Approximate analyses by certain private companies show that the note-ban move was a futile step. The government didn’t receive the monetary benefits expected through the demonetisation drive. An amount of Rs 72, 800 crore might be obtained in the form of tax and fines. At the same time, if the growth is dipped by 1 per cent, the loss would be 1.5 lakh crore. Black money and fake currency are still circulated. Given the present situation, the government should at least divulge the specific details. The people could no longer be swayed by Modi’s rhetoric and fooled into believing the hollowpromises.