SC buries ‘8PM’ demonetization, touchstone of policy hara-kiri, demon

Spread the love

News Analysis

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, January 2: On the roof of a two-storied house in a village in western Uttar Pradesh, a life-long ‘pracharak’ of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) in the summer of 2019 was aghast reflecting at the ‘8 PM’ decision of demonetization of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With a four-hour notice announced on television, Modi had made the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currencies illegal, while sending the people with cash to stand in queue for relief for days and months.

“He insulted the women who saved cash without ever sharing with their husbands to meet the needs of emergencies in life. There is no merit in the decision except that it has a minefield of political gains in Uttar Pradesh,” said the pracharak, who was in his early 80s.

The Supreme Court on Monday held the decision of demonetization valid in a split verdict, with four judges ruling in favour, while Justice BV Nagarathna was the sole dissenting judge. By the time the judgment has come, the demonetization panacea of Rs 2000 currency has already made a disappearing act. The pink note hasn’t been seen by the people for years (the note has not been demonetized!).

The principal aim, as harped on by the Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons and the government functionaries was to kill the black money, curb terror funding, herald digital economy, and eliminate fake currencies and so on. None of the objectives till has been fulfilled. The government had appointed a committee headed by the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu to suggest a roadmap for the cashless economy under the aegis of the NITI Aayog. The panel bid its time, and the people never knew if they made any recommendations at all.

The economy was thrown off the cliff, as the unorganized sector was hit hard and even the Bharatiya Laghu Udyog Sangh, an affiliate of the RSS, was livid in the days and months following the demonetization decision. The National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB) in its reports has said that the fake currency continues to be in circulation, with seizures in Rs 20s crore and Rs 30s crore found annually since 2016.

The government slogan from cashless economy changed to less cash economy within a few months, and afterwards it was conveniently forgotten. The Opposition was without a spine to seize the issue to make it an electoral agenda. Modi was riding an unprecedented popularity that made the people decide to live with one of the most weird policy hara-kiri seen since Independence. The 8PM decision was broadcast once more to announce a national lockdown after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. That remains the last shock to the people till date.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *