DEMYSTIFYING DEMONETISATION ON ITS ANNIVERSARY

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On 8th November 2016 over All India Radio, the honorable Prime Minister made an announcement regarding Demonetisation that sent the country to a state of economic shock that has also been categorised as an economic surgical strike on the nation and its honest citizens by the leading economists. This was also not communicated to the nation as a policy announcement but as usual directly by the PM through the national TV channels as if he was inaugurating a Utsav. On one hand while the opposition has been categorising this as a thuglak type of directive, the pro-government populace has been celebrating this as a momentous measure to address the corruption, fake currencies, terrorist threats and black money, that has spread into the society as a cancer and is fast eating into the innards of the nation itself.

Even after a year of the announcement both the ruling government and the opposition are using this to further their own political agendas rather than addressing the issues for the grass root citizens of the country. While on one hand, the government expected about 3Lakh Crore of black money to be wiped out of the circulation from the system due to the measures, as per the latest RBI data from a total of 15.55Lakh crore of currency 15.26Lakh crore of the currency has returned back to the government coffers. By this yardstick where then is the black cash. This measure has indeed hit the small & honest businesses, traders& truckers hard, where these are businesses that have traditionally been dependent only on cash and the owners of such businesses in a majority of the cases were neither educated nor have developed a dependence on the use of formal banking system over all these 70 years. To expect them to become banking and digital savvy overnight was possibly expecting the moon. It only took lives of more than 100 people with 1000’s losing their jobs and many closing their businesses.

According to some economists, such measures can never unearth black cash as this cash are always tied in transactions and invested in wealth like land, jewelry that is practically impossible to trace on its origins. Further, when the main objective of controlling black money, corruption & fake currencies in use by terrorists, by demonetisation was not met, the government changed its stand and started projecting digital money by getting on the fast track of digital lane at the expense of cash transaction via Bhim, PayTm etc., to cover its failure on its primary objective. If the government is sincere and serious about eliminatingthe cancer of corruption, the government can easily curb above 1Lakh Crore*per annum (by conservative estimates) ofbribes, (This is not a hidden secret, as the same has also been reported extensively by press during many of the enforcement raids of the vigilance department on various RTO offi cesrunning into several crores of hard cash) by strictly enforcing digital transactions at all the RTO offi ces, border check posts and all other vehicle checking spots, by making further necessary amendments to make the concerned offi cers transparently accountable for their performance. They should either complete the task or reject the same with a reason and suggest rectification within a fixed time frame. It is a fact, that delays breed corruption and therefore accountability of the officers is must.

Also, if an officer who is later found to be negligent in the discharge of his responsibilities, he should be charged and punished. All this must be ensured by deploying digital technology actively for the purpose. The tragedy is that this corruption is prevalent to the maximum extent on all the states that are presently ruled by the BJP like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh etc.Despite the “Honourable Prime Minister” being perceived as an honest and clean personality, how can he absolve himself of the responsibility as a leader, when his own party run states are contributing in the maximum on corruption. Further, by constituting mechanisms suggested above to curb corruption, the government stands assured that the inflation in the country will definitely be controlled, as this will drastically bring down the logistics cost by way of lower freight that will reflect across by way of drastically reduced commodity prices.

We have only experienced one year of demonetisation. The present government still has 2 more years to go and if they are sincere, they should curb corruption by strictly implementing these measures and deliver on the promises. This will indeed go a long way.

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