It used to be said that Indians don’t queue. Clerks despaired of organizing the crowds that clamored for attention at service counters, and paying one’s electric bill in northern cities required a set of sharp elbows for jostling. In this context, postdemonetization bank and ATM queues were remarkable—not only for the very orderliness of their existence, but also for the intimacies they fostered and ways in which they rearticulated class and kinship.
No formal government program or agenda has been so socially malignant for India as the 2016 demonetization, both in the intent and manner in which the policy was deployed and in its impact on the working poor. While the forced sterilizations (nas bandi) of the mid-1970s were met with widespread subversion and eventually led to the fall of the Indira Gandhi government, the recent round of notebandi (literally, note ban) or demonetization was met by mass acquiescence.
Do you know what today is? INDIAN FOOLS DAY.
The good news is, Urijit has finished counting the notes.
The bad news? 99% of all the demonetized notes in Nov 8, 2016 have come back.
Since the celebrationist account of GST can be found everywhere (TV shows, newspaper, social media, chit chat with public), here is a Non-Bhakt economic analysis of GST…
Results are in on Demonetisation … India is being ruled by AN INCOMPETENT PRIME MINISTER… He has ruined the Indian economy with a stupid, ill-considered move. An overweening belief in himself, to the exclusion of advice from even a close set of real economic/financial experts, is undoubtedly the biggest cause of this debacle. If Modi had even consulted those with some economic/financial knowledge in his own party, he would have realized that demonetization is a blatantly STUPID move.
Business down by 50%. Only 3 out of 18 ATMs working.
If this is the state of things in a busy shopping area in Bengaluru, one of the biggest cities in India, and an IT hub to boot, just imagine the state of things in a rural area where most people do not have bank accounts and where internet penetration is very poor.
The worst is yet to come.
ohmeghalaya.com reports on demonetization effect in Shillong SHILLONG, NOV 20: Unlike India’s first demonetization in 1978 under Prime Minister Moraji Desai, the 2016 fight against black money…
“More than black-money, demonetization appears to step one, for chasing the goals of enriching the rich and impoverishing the poor further. MODItization is already beginning to inflict terrible misery to India’s economic and social fabric. Its counter has to emerge from the very people, who have been scripted out for a terrible fate.”
We are a country of melodrama, fantastic mythology, grandiose narratives – this is the common thread that binds us all, for better or for worse. We thrive and revel in conflating relatively minor matters into something important and meaningful, and have a disdain for things that are not dramatic, grand or aspirational, even if critically important.
Demonetisation has placed disproportionate stress on exactly those who are least likely to be source of the problems the move aims to tackle. The ones least likely to hold black money, be involved in financing terrorists or printing fake currency are the hardest hit. Being part of an entirely cash-based economy, the poor are finding the hand-to-mouth cycle abruptly broken. A few hours spent in a bank’s queue may be a minor inconvenience and a patriotic service to the nation to the relatively well-off; to the construction worker, it amounts to a meal unearned, foregone.
So, is 5% or lower worth all the trouble?
Sadon Blah speculates Modi’s historic move to target black money in the country.
How not to talk about Demonetisation?
It is one thing to say that demonetisation has failed empirically, but quite another to assume that it will lead to BJP’s defeat. On the contrary, Mr. Modi has jumped from one policy to the other, and every time, the residue in public consciousness is the honourable intention. Meanwhile the opposition parties seem to be completely unaware of these dynamics.