The Big Ban(g)

-G S Swetha Rao

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws,” quoted Roman historian and Senator Tacitus in ‘The Annals of Imperial Rome’, back then. “Corrupt practices and black money have to be eliminated and that is when we will scale new heights of progress,’’ says hon’ble Prime Minister, Narendra Modi decades later.

November 8th, 2016 has left a remarkable stride in the financial history of the nation, while the Prime Minister began his first ever televised address. Modi completely hijacked the currency crackdown by announcing a ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes just within few hours post the announcement. This bold step is considered to be biggest crackdown ever on black money and a complete shocker to the Black Marketers and corruption on the whole. This brave yet harsh attempt towards a corruption free India has never been known or heard of from any part of the world. 500 and 1000 rupee notes are now a waste paper, the social media was flooded with memes and posts mocking the potential victims of the big ban.

Modi, RBI Governor Urjit Patel, Secy Department of Economic Affairs Shaktikanta Das and other senior officials who threw light on this renaissance of the financial sector, highlighted that the move was necessary as black money was being used to spread terror in the nation.“Millions of fake currency notes were being smuggled into India from across the border to finance the menace of terrorism, in all its forms,” they pointed at. The sudden attempt anyway predicted temporary inconvenience to the white in India as well, like short term restrictions on ATM machines usage, limitations on maximum amount of money withdrawal, closure of banks for 2 days public transactions.

 

In a country like India, the least of wages paid to the daily wage labourers also follow the 500 and 1000 denominations and the Modi government’s phenomenal fight against the black hard pressed these meager labourers to walk their way knocking bank doors in no time. Survival till the new mechanisms reconcile seemed to be quite challenging for the masses both rural and urban in all walks of life. The collateral damage to the nation with this new system possibly explains why the government has been insisting for bank accounts to all and then the linking of their respective Aadhar Card details to the bank accounts. The move thus assures its own set of merits that will perhaps be seen in the coming years.

 

The black green of the biggies, that hiding beneath beds, behind lockers, customized cavities etc., is sure to crackdown and the list of entities worst affected by the ban is envisaged to be beyond expectation. “There comes a time in the history of a country’s development when a need is felt for a strong and decisive step. For years, this country has felt that corruption, black money and terrorism are festering sores, holding us back in the race towards development. The magnitude of cash in circulation is directly linked to the level of corruption. Inflation becomes worse through the deployment of cash earned in corrupt ways. In spite of all these efforts, there may be temporary hardships faced by honest citizens. Experience tells us that ordinary citizens are always ready to make sacrifices and face difficulties for the benefit of the nation,” stated Modi in his address to the nation.

 

The fact that a decision of this magnitude was kept under wraps, as a closely guarded secret, is a remarkable achievement on part of Modi and his select team. Despite the short term pain, Modi’s personal responsibility in sensing the bigger opportunity in the move will surely be seen as a landmark reform ever undertaken in the history of independent India. Such an extreme measure has left millions awestruck without even the slightest of hint. The overnight convention and its consequences best, good, bad or worse though predicted by many will be witnessed only as time flees.

 

 

 

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