50 days to Boom or Doom?
Modi’s game plan
Hum ko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat kya hai
Dil ke behlane ko Ghalib yeh khayal achcha hai
Urmila’s husband a daily wager is lying in a hospital since November 7 fighting for life. His employer ostensibly took pity on his plight and paid the wife past wages in 500 and 1000 notes the morning of November 9, before poor woman got to know of the Prime Minister’s grand announcement of curbing black money by demonetizing 500 and 1000 notes. Since that day her teenage school going son has been standing in the queue outside any bank he can spot to get to exchange Rs 10,000 in 500 denomination with no success. She cannot leave the bedside of her husband and has no one else to exchange the demonetized currency.
Will her husband survive the 50 days Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants us to wait patiently to sweep out the scourge of black money from the surface of India?
Savana, another young woman with two little children and an unemployed husband also got her wages pending for last six months from her employer soon after this announcement in 500 and 1000 currency notes. Finally two days back she gathered courage to stand in the queue outside the State Bank along with her husband to exchange a small part of her wages (Rs 4000) and after spending full day she eventually succeeded in exchanging Rs 4000. In return the bank gave her two 2000 notes. Now no one is accepting this note unless she buys goods for all the 2000 rupees because of paucity of 100 rupee notes in the market. She has not bought any daily necessities since the Prime Minister’s November 8 announcement. Can she wait for another 50 days?
The Prime Minister says demonetization is aimed at rooting out corruption and black money. My maid sold her village land for Rs 5 lakh to invest in property in the vicinity of South Delhi where she works in various homes all day to make a living. Modi has decreed that any deposit more than Rs 2.5 lakh is black money. So my poor maid is the one with black money, so says Narendra Modi and he is going to root out such black money.
The farmer who brings his produce every day to Azadpur and Okhla vegetable Mandi gets all his much delayed payments in cash and naturally has large amounts of 500 and 1000 notes. The upcoming sowing season will wait in abeyance for the next 50 days for Modi to clean up before this poor farmer can go out and make his immediate purchases. And the best part is the way this man and his factotum Amit Shah are brazening it out, despite voices of concern within the Government and even the BJP. They are blasé and upfront, knowing full well that, as his ardent admirer Subramnaian Swamy, admitted on record, this will not curb black money.
In 1978 when Morarji Desai demonetized the 1000, 5000 and 10,000 notes even an IAS or IPS officer was not taking home four figure salary and so demonetizing the currency didn’t really affect any of us. In fact I, who had joined the profession just a few months before, got to know of the existence of 1000, 5000 and 10,000 notes only from newspaper reports. I and most of us had never seen these notes. And yet the move made zero difference to the circulation of black money in the Indian economy.
In this nation of 1.25 billion, millions and millions of working class, both organsied and even more, unorgainsed, the small farmer, the local shopkeeper the salaried class, all survive on cash transactions and have mostly 500 and also 1000 notes because even my maid earns a couple of thousands from each household she goes to and so her savings comprise of quite a neat packet of 500 and 1000 notes.
And pray how will it help curbing black money, replacing these old notes with new and bigger denomination notes of 2000?
No sir that is not the objective. The objective is simple as Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for whom I have no love lost, said. First don’t believe the fraud stories put out in the sarkari media of the Prime Minister keeping this as a big secret even from his cabinet colleagues. Is it possible that the Finance Minister did not know, is it possible that the half a dozen members of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) were not in the loop, when the preparations were going on for last six months? There is overwhelming evidence that the real insiders, crucially important to Modi’s election plans were quietly not just told but asked to make the necessary preparations and as social media demonstrated some of them like Nalini Maurya even given the new currency notes before these released to the banks. Imagine the insignificant West Bengal state office of the BJP hurriedly depositing Rs three crore days before the November 8 announcement. it raises two questions where did all this money come from for this non-functional branch as also who told them to make this move. We demand that the Government come out and state publicly what was the extent of depositing of big money in the runup to the Prime Minister’s so called sudden and secret announcement. That will explode the myth of the great secrecy being tomtommed.
So the real targets are the potential political rivals in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh and Punjab assembly elections. We all know that the corporate sector has been readily financing Modi’s election campaign. Mulayam too though not as fortunate, still has a government and can manage somehow. Congress anyway is in deep slumber and so even without this, had little money to give to its candidates. But it is Mayawati whose election campaign could take a beating by this measure and therefore it is now obvious that for all Amit Shah’s bluster, the BJP is truly fearful of Mayawati.
But there is far more far reaching and long term game in this move which is going to hit the poor man much harder than anyone can imagine right now and why only poor even the middle class. As for the middle class it is forcing him to switch fully to plastic money. Our younger generation, including my son, my niece are unaffected and unconcerned by this move because they use their cards and order even their grocery online. They hardly visit the next door grocer or deign to look at the thhele wala. So they are smug about all this. This, as Modi himself stated would force people to resort to plastic money and naturally give a whole lot of business to the credit/debit card companies, the Paytm and online business ventures will thrive prosper and multiply, naturally at the cost of the next door grocer or your daily cart vendor. Staving and killing small vendor and next door grocer is national interest in this Sanghi PM’s perspective.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Jan Dhan Yojana for opening bank accounts for all on August 15, 2014, within months of assuming office and had succeeded in persuading over 25 crore people, mostly rural and urban poor, all over the country to open zero balance accounts in the banks. But this zero balance remained zero with the people unwilling or unable to save enough to put it in banks and so as reports last month revealed, bank officers themselves, to earn brownie points, deposited a rupee or two to keep these alive and functional. But for how long? Now this latest measure has forced the poorest of the poor to run to the bank and deposit his 500 and 1000 notes in the bank. Thus with one stroke the Prime Minister has forced the hands of the poor to turn to banks.
This might have been a good move and in the long term interest of the people and therefore of the country but for two reasons. First the State Bank of India has only the other day, after Modi’s spectacular announcement admitted that its Non Performing Assets (NPA) had increased geometrically in the last quarter of the financial year. And this, after all the hue and cry over the big Banks lending blindly to the corporate honchos with no concern or spunk to recover from them. In effect ,subsidizing the rich with our hard earned money lying in these banks. But this had brought down the total cash assets of these banks and even though Finance Minister Arun Jaitely had asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to replenish the bank coffers, it seems inadequate. Now with the poorest of the poor forced to deposit his little, little saving in the banks, their chests will naturally become full and they in turn will continue subsidizing the rich with this money of the poorest section of our society. That is one dimension of the demonetization.
Second it has been RSS rant and Modi like a true Pracharak strongly believes that the income tax be abolished all together. This will please the rich no end and he will continue patronizing Modi for ever and ever. His government is aiming at that and may hopefully achieve this before the next general elections as Modi has hinted of new measures. Well then where would the money to run the government come from? Once all the withdrawals from ATMs are levied a nominal surcharge, nobody may notice and the Government may rake in much moolah by squeezing it out of the poor. That is what the Jan Dhan scheme is all about that is the long term plan of this Sanghi government. And rest assured they are moving determinedly in that direction.
50 days to Boom or Doom?