The opposition parties have called for a Bharat Bandh on Monday (Nov 28). Demonetisation affects each and every one in the country. Why is being pro or against demonetisation (carried out the way it is) synonymous to being a patriot or a traitor? Why is it communal sense and not common sense that our educated class is resorting to? It is also a known fact that over 70 k Cr of bad loans are attributed to over only 7k accounts, and these are only the ones whose outstanding figures are over Rs. 500 Cr. It is not even our entire bad debt/outstanding figures. It is also a known fact that black money has already been converted into indexed and unindexed black wealth, whether in bullion, bitcoin, real estate, offshore accounts or the like. Anita, imagines herself to be the Prime Minister (PM) and suggests how the entire exercise might have been done differently. An interesting alternative, exclusively for Different Truths.
Dear Country Wo/men:
This is what I would have done, if I were the PM…
But before that, as a normal citizen, I must admit I am at a loss to understand why is being pro or against demonetisation (carried out the way it is) synonymous to being a patriot or a traitor? Why is it communal sense and not common sense that our educated class is resorting to? Yes, I do not accept demonetisation done this way. And only because I love my country truly, and not the other way around!
I, as a citizen, want as much for a clean white economy. But given the state of our economy I don’t see demonetisation executed the way it has been, as the solution, as the way to go. Not when, it is a known fact that much lesser than 10% of the population has much more that 50% of the wealth. It is also a known fact that only 6% of black currency is actually floating around in the country.
It is also a known fact that 86% of currency is in the denomination that’s being denounced in an economy that has a large uneducated/illiterate population that, given the inflation, used that denomination to transact on a daily basis without any understanding or access to technology, and thus, to electronic money.
It is also a known fact that over 70 k Cr of bad loans are attributed to over only 7k accounts, and these are only the ones whose outstanding figures are over Rs. 500 Cr. It is not even our entire bad debt/outstanding figures.
It is also a known fact that black money has already been converted into indexed and unindexed black wealth, whether in bullion, bitcoin, real estate, offshore accounts or the like. It is also a known fact that there is no composite road map laid out to unearth our huge Swiss cache.
So despite all this knowledge, demonetisation is implemented and the result is the common man is hugely inconvenienced being virtually divested of his fiscal resources…
Pensioners/senior citizens, uneducated/illiterate daily wagers who did not possess electronic money and children of municipal schools whose parents are largely daily wagers are badly affected.
It has derailed the entire economy with all the liquidity crisis in the informal sector, the sheer worker layoffs, the virtual collapse of perishable as well as non-perishable agricultural commodities markets that have baselined with cooperative banks becoming nonfunctional as they have been divested of the authority to accept the denounced denomination either as deposit or for exchange. As a result small farmers, agricultural labourers and artisans are going unpaid.
There have been many tragic deaths related directly to the resulting disruption. There has been a colossal waste of time as people stand in unending queues at banks and ATMs and hospitals that are inaccessible.
And all this with marginal prevention of the real illegal activity as black income is easily and casually being converted into black wealth.
Not to mention the utter bad oversight/planning (or is someone making a killing on the contract) with having to recalibrate the 200K odd machines to fit in the new 2K notes?!
Jobs, rupee, commodities and equity market and GDP are all down. The list doesn’t bottom out.
I’d like to know how this demonetisation is going to stop corruption; the creators of black money. And how is it going to seize and cease defaulters; the creators of black wealth or terrorism.
The fact is even before the common man has had a chance to own the 2k note, there are cross border terrorists already carrying the denomination. High end connections?
And then there is Akodara, a village adopted by the finance minister in Gujarat, that transacts only in electronic money, which goes on record to say they knew about the impending withdrawal of the 500 and 1000 notes, and hence were prepared and are not affected one bit.
Electoral and not economic based decision then? Not to forget the notes dumped /burned…supposedly from the campaign coffers in lieu of the upcoming elections in UP?
Ok so getting on course, this is what I’d do, were I the PM.
Yes, one might argue that hindsight is a great teacher…maybe, but that’s for those who have acted with no foresight. As a PM, I’d do the groundwork, addressing immediate concerns that would/could crop up, as well as long-term benefits and fallouts. Because with great authority comes great responsibility.
And so I’d begin with some established thumb rules: a sin is a sin is a sin, no matter the reason it’s committed, no matter who commits it. Thus, for a personal or party benefit I cannot, even if I have the majority in the house, and knowing the people really have no voice or choice, being the PM, be a radical. No matter how tempting, no matter how easy for me personally, and no matter how much it will contribute to my personal or party success in the short term at least.
Any movement to reform is going to have an impact on society. Thus, I would study the expected outcome. What precisely are the long-term benefits? Given the dynamics of money and wealth, apropos black money, I would weigh if there were indeed going to be long-term positive effects. If so, what percentage of success could be expected? Would that justify the short-term losses/inconveniences?
There can be a national or regional calamity. Thus, a Plan B should always be in place. While my plan A is in process, in the face of a national or regional calamity, is my Plan B equally congruent and ready to be implemented? Will I accomplish in squashing what is really a huge impediment to my country with this or the alternative plan, in the stipulated period?
That law states that rather let a hundred convicts go free than punish an innocent man. The huge percentage of electronic instruments used to transact should not mean anything if one poor farming/village community is going to be at hells door because they have no access or understanding of the technology.
Some steps create history, especially when history shows a particular action, of the scale, has hardly/never been put into practice. Thus, I need to know all the issues that can likely result and resolve them, to the extent I can, before the plan is unleashed. To do that I would ensure I got a team in place to tackle even any short term unanticipated blow, once I make the move.
I am the PM. I have been elected. I have a majority in the house. Thus, the people of the country look up to me. I am answerable to them. Not just in telling them of my move and motive but of communicating with them on a daily/weekly/bi monthly/monthly basis, both of the outcome as it unfolds and the steps taken in tackling any emergency.
As well as explaining to the opposition – people I would like to have on my side – who are also part of my beloved country, a democracy, my preparedness of the operation, the facts at hand, the goal that is and the update on how it is being accomplished. Because that is my duty.
Everything comes with a price. Thus, I need to ascertain that there is an infrastructure in place to help the weaker, vulnerable, rustic sections of my society as they make up for the larger part of my country.
So, I’d think long term. Firstly, I’d facilitate and ensure every citizen has a bank account, the way the Aadhar card was implemented. Then, I’d concentrate on building an infrastructure that would enable every citizen to transact digitally, his account and Aadhar card being linked for every future reference. I’d simultaneously set up contextual escrows with a la crowdfunding kind accessibility to transact in the interim with lack of physical cash.
After that I’d print new denominations of the ones I want to denounce. And I would identify multiple feasible points of exchange of the same, so no one is inconvenienced. That done, I’d denounce the denominations, by way of old notes accepted in the banks over a period of a whole financial year, during which the banking software that would have already been tweaked to flag old note deposits in one’s account. This would directly be linked to the tax returns filed.
The amounts would then duly and directly be levied the appropriate tax structure.
All mid, high denominations would be periodically denounced, styming counterfeit currency happily floating around.
This way in the long run there would be only digital transfers. The physical transfers would be to a minimum.
Also, I’d deconstruct the multiple taxation structure that’s keeping corruption high and taxpayers low. I would introduce a single point taxation system, that many progressive prosperous economies the world over have. That way no one would want to be a tax defaulter. The tax payer would have more fiscal liberty and thus spend more, growing my country’s GDP.
I would amend/introduce a law to have all political parties declare their party funding. This would also apply to national TV channels so transparency of income/assets is ensured. This would be scrutinized by an autonomous bench to correlate any wrongful transactions arising from the associations.
Defaulters’ passports and assets would be seized long before it reached gigantic proportions and there’d be immediacy in bringing the defaulters to book.
All schools and colleges would be deemed and students selected on merit alone. All would have the same fee structure as the government run ones. This would actually ensure everyone a good education, leading to a better and cleaner (read whiter) society.
And yes, I’d try to design real smart notes that couldn’t be easily duplicated but could be easily verified. As no, my press wouldn’t churn out faulted notes, adding to the one’s worry with an already brimming counterfeit enterprise.
Of course while at it, I’d also ensure that, farming would be given the appropriate boost with farmers concerns being addressed on a weekly basis until they are all ironed out and the sector runs like a proper organized industry.
Demand and supply of essential commodities would be regulated, as also medicines and health care economics would be fine combed, ensuring affordability.
All the tax collected would be put to good use with Senior citizens, children, and families of soldiers getting special privileges in necessary segments.
Make the law and order more accessible and full proof to women and children. No wasting of money on trivialities and formalities like greeting the PM and other ministers with flowers on occasions/taking an unnecessary entourage abroad, bringing a city to a dead stop for a major part of the day simply because I’m visiting for a max of two hours, amongst other things.
Well, this is what I would’ve done for a good white economy.
The common wo/man
Photo from the Internet.
Born and wedded, into a confluence of different cultures, Anita has lived in both, a traditional state and a cosmopolitan city. She has seen an assortment of unfavorable rustic practices, as much as philanthropic efforts. Her latest novel is set in this backdrop. She is a software developer and loves to dabble in digital Art. She is married to an architect. Anita is a film buff and has a good sense of humour.