Demonetization of the 500 and 1000 Rupee notes have been the main discussion in India and around the world by Indians. I had been quiet though.. without a ‘Master Stroke Jubilance’ or Opposing it Completely. This is because I do not understand much about currency, black or white, my economics is too bad and my relationship with money has always been bipolar. So I wrote a silly lighter post on the mixing the event with old Malayalam cinema “On the Stashed away Rs.500 and Rs.1000 Notes – A lost Story of bravery, Mystery and sheer Goodness”
But over the days I have been following the news and comments and opinion by people who are much knowledgeable than me to support and oppose the decision and I am trying to learn from it. Here are some thoughts, my personal opinion and a bit on the politics and societal impact rather than Master Stroke Solutions.
- I think both the over supporting and over opposing of the decision, especially the ones that came out immediately after the news were based on very clear political leanings either Pro-Modi and Anti-Modi.
- Many were genuinely concerned as they did not know how this would pan out and what it means to the common people. But I feel that there is a strong consensus among Indians to fight corruption. You can feel that when after a few days even people who were against Modi kind of favorably started looking at the decision if (and I mean if) it reduces corruption.
- On a personal level I am against corruption like many of you and any effort to curb corruption should be welcome and if this effort really reduces corruption then it needs support.
- I personally do not think every Black money in India will be wiped out in one day even though many in the Modi belt would like to call this a Master Stroke. A Master Stroke that will make Black money a thing of the past and give it all the power and exclamation marks beyond what is needed. It is not a Master Stroke to cure all evil of corruption. We all know that all black money is not stashed away in bags of 500 and 1000 Rupee notes.
- I personally do not think Modi is a person who stands for corruption and doing something that is bad for the Nation (bad of course needs to be redefined in the light of hindu nationalism). I say that knowing that there are many Netas in our country who just think about their own amassing assets. There are many things I do not like about Modi which has to do with nationalism and his RSS links and the rise of Hindu fundamentalism that happened under his watch. But Corruption or supporting Corruption is not one of it that I will link Modi to.
- BJP is a big marketing engine under Modi and so this decision comes after all the glory talks of the promise of swiss money coming back to India and the claims of money being put in every account and so on. Calling this a Master Stroke is also another Marketing push though I also would say I think Modi is genuine in his attempt to reduce Black Money. Just that he uses every word for Marketing. Showmanship is a main piece for every action of his. And I am ok with that as long as some good comes out.
- How will this surgical economic strike impact people in remote places with no access to banking or ATM and literacy is limited and all they have is some notes that went useless. What is the fall back for them. It is a serious issue. I am not sure if you can gauge the level of this because these people do not use technology to bring out their grievances like many others. What is the mechanism that in the process of wiping out black money you do not end up wiping out all that some people had saved.
- Even in cities where you need money for some planned activity and you see No cash signs in ATMs what happens? The impact to people who scramble to give away their 500 and 1000 notes is tough. Especially in a place like India where cash transaction is still the main form than plastic.
- The ask for more time is again a double edged sword because this more time can be used by the black money racketeers as well as the genuine people who need it and those with Black Money will utilize this extra time better. Unless this time is managed properly and with support from all quadrants of the nation without political leaning.
- I strongly believe that sometimes things can be made into a practice only with such abrupt decision that no one is aware of. So a scrambling makes people act faster. This also means that abrupt decisions can hit deep into people’s freedom to live. Not all abrupt decision are aimed at the good is what I mean. more on that later.
- When I say ‘aware’ I mean no one from outside is aware of it because it is said that news similar to this have been floating and it is also said that there was enough time given to BJP close quarters to take corrective escape and safeguard measures. I would not know for sure and to my belief I don’t think many of the Pro-Modi Camp rejoicing on this anti-corruption will also come to know, if there was ink splashed behind this Master Stroke. That is one place where common man Pro-Modi or Anti-Modi have to sleep in the same mattress using the same blanket with the choice to hug or not.
- How does this decision impact only the ones who have Black Money?. It might not even impact the people who have their black money in things like real estate. That needs more effort, but fighting against this demonetization effort is not going to curb the black money that is not in cash. So saying this won’t clean everything is not a valid reason to oppose.
- Cash is the main source of transactions for both illegal and legal markets and you cannot have one impacted and other not and you cannot save one without giving leverage for other. unless it is a very thought out plan and that I think is where a major chunk of opposition goes. What all has gone into the thinking and planning and what is BJP doing to get support of all parties alike in taking this forward?
- Opposition parties might say this was not discussed but would Congress have discussed this if they were in power? Congress had failed the fight against corruption and that is a clear thing, it had over time become synonymous for corruption. So when it comes to corruption and the fight against it they should just keep quiet. Talk on secularism but please don’t dirty a discussion on Corruption. And here Rahul Gandhi should not just stop dancing he should also not sing or talk. period…
- Now about the politics of supporting and opposing demonetization. We in India have an extremely bad culture or lack of etiquette of politics. Be it BJP, Congress, CPIM and now even AAP. And this culture spreads into every levels of the political organization. The culture is so bad that if you have a political leaning you oppose anything done by the opposition even the good things and be silent on anything bad done by your party and over exclamate anything good so it borders on being fantastic and unreal. Because inherently we are either political leaders or political pawns. The complete non existence of bipartisanship in the Government level and citizen level is a big pain in our system.
- This might be a stupid doubt, But how will replacing 500 and 1000 notes with 2000 remove black money in future? what will stop those who might have stashed away notes today burn them and then over time have 2000 notes stashed. Will there be a need for another 2000 to 5000 change tomorrow. Won’t it be easy to stash 2000 over 1000 and 500?
- Now to be a bit wild. Can we make a rule that there will be an exception for people who can donate money to farmers in our country who can use that money to repay debts from landlords and the money landlords receive from the farmers will be converted to 2000 with no questions asked. I don’t know i am just may be being stupid and idealistic here.
- I still think this demonetization effort was one that could have been managed much better both by the Modi and non Modi quadrant and can still happen better. The opposition understanding that Changes like this will never happen without some problem to common man’s lives. Let us accept that. We will need some numbers (knowing that numbers can be fabricated) as to what change happened and how it will be impacted.
- Corruption eats into every citizen irrespective of party and corruption exists in people irrespective of the party. If only one party in India was corrupt we would not be in this position today. That being said we all know friends and relatives who do not say NO when it comes to increasing assets by closing one eye. So I am not over rejoicing that many people I knew just became so uncorrupt over night with a Master Stroke. A while ago I had written something on Corruption because it is inside us and not outside https://vinodnarayan.com/2011/09/17/corruption-is-it-inside-or-outside-us/
- I am a strong believer that if there is a nationwide effort to reduce corruption it should be supported, thinking that your political party might lose mileage if this effort wins is being too narrow and blind. At the same time it is important to see through the political motivations of your opposition that might result in a stupid move. The opposition’s job is not just to oppose but also to see through decisions without a WIN/Lose agenda.
- Now for one thing that many would not agree. I am pondering if Modi is a person for whom common man’s suffering is secondary compared to his conviction for an action with a bigger goal. It is not always good because if you think getting into power and unifying India under the Hindu flag can have some casualties he might have been ok with it, I am not talking about the future but about the past into 2002. Modi is a man who does not really see the little things (that does not matter in a bigger vision) or he does not bother as long as it feeds his conviction. Some say that it is the greatness of a leader who can steer the country but I disagree.
- So while I support any move to reduce corruption I think an action by Modi should be always scrutinized in a humanitarian light because his agenda often makes him blind of what happens way down. I have over the years received the brunt of talking against him and Hindu Nationalism with people who are racist and bigoted in their support. But with this item I think the effort should be to reduce corruption while not letting Modi and his RSS Family (since he left his real family) from over glorifying this for political mileage.
- The demonetization decision is taken and it would never be a smooth transition and I think there should be a plan to carry it forward. Some plans in good intention can create more havoc and pull us back if not planned well. A Master stroke should not leave with good people dead because the real bad people with black money in non 500 and non 1000 notes are still safe. You don’t see Ambani’s and Adani’s in line in front of Bank and ATM.
- If this decision was taken keeping BJP Marketing and next elections in mind then they (and us as a Nation) are in for big surprises because decisions like this if not thought through can be really hard to get back on feet. When I heard that there is a rumor that the master mind who helped Modi was an engineer turned economic theorist. The question that came up was Who built the practical implementation plan for this. No offense to theorists
- Even if you roll back monetization it will only push us back because a decision that marketed anti-corruption failed and that is a big blow in a place where corruption is a practice. I just hope that this is well thought through and in coming days as a nation we can come together and make sure it works keeping aside the political differences.
Yes there will be problems, not just for the ones who have black money but also common people and instead of trying to push them out of a system by saying it is ok to suffer for a greater cause there should come a support system for the genuine an effort to help them rather than asking them to swallow the bitterness today for the sweetness of tomorrow. And that is where the plan comes. What is being done and how?
Some decisions once taken are in the open; outside the control of the political party or PM who took it. Master Strokes on national level especially economics, impact all parts of life and impacts are not always immediate and how we have foreseen the impacts of the near and long term future and the way to surpass them is important. That is why it is important because this is beyond an election if you really think about the Nation.
So let us put the ‘Master Stroke’ behind and do something to not be stuck in a turmoil in the days ahead and also be aware of the ink that might have been spilled behind the Master Stroke. Keep your mind open but not with your eyes closed. Support and Oppose only genuinely.