On the 8th of November this year, Mr Modi surprised the world and his countrymen with ‘Demonetization’. Demonetization has subsequently become one of the most used ‘socio-economic’ words. Not many governmental measures have received the kind of response this has.
Reactions have straddled the spectrum between the possibly naive ‘thrilled to heavens’
enthusiasm to the immediately chest-clutching ‘oh my God, what do I do now’ panic? There have been polls conducted in November a week or two after the announcement to understand how this has been received. From the widely ‘critiqued’ PM’s own app to independent surveys. They seem to support the Demonetization move as of November 2016. With the ‘birth pangs’ of this new phase of governance far from over, maybe it may be relevant to have opinion polls again before the calender year ends.
Proof of the pudding is in the Polling
The recent Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections, if it is any indication, has also overwhelmingly gone the BJP way. This has highlighted the acceptance among the Chandigarh (read Urban) community for Demonetization. The coming UP and Punjab polls (more so the former) will actually test the rural masses’ support. No recent opinion polls have surfaced with data on this.
The opposition including several respected economists have lost no time in deriding the ‘Modification’ in the currency. Mr Modi appears a demon, presented in this draconian light. Conspiracy theories too abound on the ‘motive behind ushering’ in a more cashless economy.
In principle, Cool Chilli is with most Indians on the subject. A bold move with the welfare of India at heart, but improvements necessary in execution. At NewsTikka.com we also believe that there could be genuine reasons for the ‘gaps in execution’. We hear his hand had been forced to advance the announcement to retain the element of surprise. The initial plan was to announce in the new Calendar year. By then Mr Modi was to have ensured all the necessary precautions/steps were in place. But then these are occupational hazards in Governance and even right thinking members of the Opposition may not wish to buy this.
We can try to understand the PM’s predicament and the hurried announcement. But the mixed communications/changes from the PM’s initial announcement are puzzling and highly unfortunate. The RBI and the Finance Ministry needs to work out a concerted mechanism both to minimize the pain for the common man as well as communicate this plan in a clear and effective manner.
Demonetization Gaining Currency?
If the urban man is slowly seeing the pain of this pinch, the rural Indian must be impacted and confused in far greater measure. These uncertainties or frustrations however temporary may also embolden some ‘nay-sayers’ to take a ‘I told you so’ stance. The move may not be so wayward. Had it been so, why would nations as varied as Australia, Venezuela or our own friendly neighbourhood Pakistan toy with the idea.
In ending, we believe Mr Modi and or Mr Jaitley needs to address the nation again at the earliest and reclarify on the various aspects along with clear guidance on the way ahead. If required, maybe acknowledge the lessons learnt as well. Law abiding citizens’ trust in him and support for him will only increase with clearer comunications/channels.
As Mr Modi moves on with reforms in other sectors like real estate, he needs to carry the hopes, trust and general good will of India’s masses. The same masses which have been stoically standing in lines and patiently pleading with Bankers. In many cases also forced to receive payments/salaries from their Customers and Employers in demonetized notes. The PM owes it to them, just as much as all of us owe it to this man who has had the courage of his conviction to move a 90% cash country towards more cashlessness.