Demonetization – This is one word that has catapulted from being in the dark confines of the Oxford Dictionary & the jargon of economists to being in the light of household utterances of every Indian in the past 20 days. It’s been the buzzword in every conversation – be it tea-shop tête-à-têtes over Twitter hashtags.
True to the first five letters of the word, it struck everyone at the most unexpected moment. There aren’t many who were spared from experiencing the effects and the impact – in a gap of three hours, ATMs that had always been taken for granted, had become a luxury. Bank jobs that have been always perceived as relaxed, had become the most stressed profession. Petrol Pumps and Medical Shops saw a sudden surge in their business. People who had hoarded loads of money were now left with nothing more than stashes of pine-pulp paper. To put these in a zipped format, the Nation’s fate in the economic front had been mutated in a matter of hours.
A few citizens heralded it as one of the greatest-ever moves in the history of Indian (or maybe even, Global) Economy. It is true to a considerable extent – papers (We can no longer call them ‘money’) have been burnt, black money hoarders have been experiencing sleepless nights, and crorepatis were plummeted to the state of the middle class.
I am never gonna comment about the bad-effects of demonetization – people like Kejriwal have discussed it enough, and I don’t have the patience and the guts to face the fans who have an excuse and an explanation for everything the Prime Minister does. However, I’ve only had a few questions (Not Allegations or blames) that have been haunting my mind. I only ask these because of my curiosity on why these weren’t done, my ignorance on higher-level economics, and as a citizen who, in spite of all the ‘benefits’ of demonetization, would like to explore better possibilities & avenues:
- Why INR 2000 notes before the new INR 500 notes? When spending INR 100, isn’t it easier to get a change of 3 notes of 500 and 4 notes of 100 than looking out for 19 notes of 100?
- Why not make the new notes in the same dimensions as the old notes? Wouldn’t it be easier for the ATMs to dispense them as the sizes have been pre-calibrated? It would have been just a mass software update for ATMs and not an individual hardware update!
- If there can be new INR 500 notes, why not new INR 1000 notes? We’re moving towards a cashless economy, and notes of higher denomination are not an absolute necessity! In fact, there are chances that the black money, in the long run, might start getting hoarded up again, albeit in a more compact fashion!!
- Aren’t there ways to have the notes delivered to the banks and ATMs on a war-time basis by mobilizing special aircrafts & secure vehicles? Didn’t the Government know the ratio of the Number of Banks to the Number of Citizens, and consequently, the time it might take to get their own money to or from the banks, or the importance of cash in a country that ran almost fully on a cash-based economy until 8th of November?
- Jio was endorsed for no good reason!! Anticipating this cash-crunch, shouldn’t there have been an endorsement for a bank-agnostic cashless transaction app like PayTM, or maybe even promote an app or at least, have some system in place that would have helped the small-scale businesses and the unorganized sector? That would have put all the buyers and sellers…even the small scale ones at ease!
Before people jump into conclusions, I’d like to clearly and explicitly state that I’m surely not against demonetization – I’m proud and happy that the Prime Minister, the Reserve Bank, and a few other names that did not see the light of TRPs have been gutsy enough to execute this in a day that was more than perfect!
However, the problem in the execution was the way, the preparedness, and the lack of foresight. When Metropolitans like Chennai haven’t been able to fully recover from the impact, how will the Tier 2 and 3 Cities, and the villages even cope?
I think I’m intelligent enough to ask questions, but I’m sure I’m not intelligent enough to assume there might be assuring answers, leave alone finding one! I only hope that this chaos returns to order soon. Until then, let us be thankful to the Rule that reinstated the values of patience, perseverance, hope and frugality, in addition to making us realize the evils of black economy!
The Customary JAI HIND!!