The Indian Demonetization Debacle!

On the 8th of November 2016, at roughly around 9p.m ,the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narenda Modi came live on tv for an unscheduled emergency broadcast. In what has since shattered the normalcy of the common man of India, he delivered the ‘Masterstroke’; the Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes were demonetized starting from that midnight.

In one fell swoop, Narendra Modi had vanquished black money and it was a victory for the nation and the common man. But, was it? A week since the demonetization, the Indian population is struggling from a nationwide self-imposed poverty and risque barter/credit system due to the cancellation of the notes and lack of new replacing currency instead. Let’s dig a bit into it, shall we?

Essentially by canceling the legal tender value of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, it was said that it practically reduced stashed loads of black money into worthless papers in a jiffy.“Surgical strike”, “shock and awe”, “Big bang reform” are  few of the laudatory phrases used to describe this by the ever shimmering media. The most face-palm fact here is the assumption, in which black money was assumed as “a hoard of cash” buried underground , or in attics or underwater as depicted in many masala movies! And, even funnier is that the same government’s spokesperson MP Meenakshi Lekhi had opposed and slammed the then UPA government’s decision to withdraw all currency notes issued prior to 2005 and termed the measure “anti-poor”. “The aam aurats and the aadmis, those who are illiterate and have no access to banking facilities will be the ones to be hit by such diversionary measures,” she said.

I really can’t figure out , how many aam aadmis and aurats have computer and banking literacy in these 2 years and are swiping across Paytm their grocery bills!

Now let’s come to the real situation at hand. The hard working common man who has no say in the run of the country and on whom the government bestowed with so much love and care this ‘blessing’, should leave his or her means of breadwinning and go stand in a queue trying to get Rs.4000 for survival, sorted out for about 1 or 2 weeks whereas the so called people in charge of this entire “anti-black money masterstroke” couldn’t plan six months in advance and prepare for this transition?  So to deal with such issues without any prior key references/strategy/roll out options or any backup, and then spitball the following events of a 1 billion strong nation, as it happens was this “Masterstroke”? So basically screw the people , “let-me-do-this-and-get-into-history-books-one-way-or-the-other” mentality is okay as long as we accept it’s a bigger picture of black-money halting?

In a democratic nation, a government of the people, by the people and for the people, doesn’t act on a two penny thought of suddenly lifting the country out of the gutters and thrusting it into the superpower echelons of time. The last time someone attempted something like that, caused the World War II. And his name was Hitler !

 

Now the reasons why I call BS on this supposed anti-black money move?

  1. Several exact details pertaining to the decision to demonetize the notes had been published on 1 April 2016 in a Gujarati newspaper called ‘Akila’, including for instance, that there would be around 2 months’ time to exchange banned notes, and that new notes in the ₹2000 denomination would be issued. This paper is owned by one of the PM’s friends Kirit Ganatra and is published from Saurashtra in Gujarat. So much for an unscheduled emergency surprise broadcast eh?
  2. If at all this was a surprise and people wouldn’t know about this until the last moment, then the government could have taken as many months as they want to fine-tune the entire process and ensure the population isn’t affected and it still would be a surprise, but a good , thought out well-planned surprise. Meh..
  3. Most truly rich people don’t keep their wealth in the form of cash but in the form of real estate, gold, deposits in foreign bank accounts and other Benami investments. They will be largely unhurt and it is the poor who will be hurt the most by this. Exactly “anti-poor” as they claimed back in 2014!
  4. Last year (May 26 , 2015) RBI increased the slab for LRS “Liberalized remittance scheme” up to US$ 2,50,000 which means an individual from India can transfer up to two crore rupee to their overseas account in a financial year .
    Before Modi came into the power the LRS limit was just US$ 75,000. He was elected as prime minister on 26 May 2014, RBI Increased the LRS slab to US$ 125,000 the very next month Modi came into power i.e Jun 03, 2014 and also they increased the slab to 250,000 USD second time on May 26, 2015.
  5. The new magenta Rs. 2,000 notes have all been printed at a facility in India but, barring the design, the security features remain the same as the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes, a senior government official told ‘The Hindu’.“Since the decision to introduce the new notes was taken only six months ago, there was no time to alter the security features. Only the design has been changed but the security features remain the same as the old notes,” said the official. Did someone say about GPS chips, satellite calls, and overall counterfeit-proof theories? This one’s for you.

Now  what sucks most, is not the demonetization. Not the hardships of standing in queue. Not even the fact that we are near beggars for the coming few weeks(dependant on the splurge rate individually). What bites one’s ass, is all the fanatics and blind bhakts of BJP that have made it their mission to abuse, condescend, insult and vulgarly put down in social networking sites, the people who do not see eye to eye on the same. “Saare jahaan se accha, Hindusthan hamaara” doesn’t really mean shit, where every iota of intolerance , racism, ignorance, moral policing and bigotry are being exhibited left and right on all instances. Yes, the probability of 1 billion people having a unanimous opinion would be 0.00000000000002% , but does it have to come to enforcing one’s beliefs down another’s throat? If it comes to that, I’m happy to announce, we have taken our first step to being the next North Korea.

In conclusion, if it deals with black money as claimed, well and good; albeit a risky , troublesome  and chaotic, bordering-on-the-anarchical move! If not, then I hope every Indian citizen opens his eyes to the masters puppeteering their hopes and aspirations and playing them for own selfish motives. In the end, how would we feel if our entire life has been devalued in our quest of narrow-mindedness?

Cheers.

EDIT : This post is only to calmly present the facts that I believe, and not to degrade a bhakt or whoever you are. Kindly do not approach with a one-sided, repetitive, bland “Modi is great and I’m a thankless dog” comment. Do put here all your genuine feedbacks or clarifications though and I would be happy to rectify my viewpoint based on further facts.

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Back to writing after 1.5 years..! Bruised, but still kicking it.

 

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That look-up, when in realization or utter confusion!

 

My last post was on Jan 2015 when I posted about the blues of being an entrepreneur and how not to suck being one! I had just started up my event management company and boy, did I have a story to tell.. 😀

1.5 years and 3 businesses later, I guess I’m more of an entrepreneur now and less of a writer. So I’m back with a vow to do so, more. Here are some crazy , weird observations/rants/understandings/life lessons/introspections that I’ve learned over this period.

  • Life is a bitch. Suck it up, keep going!

There were countless times I wanted to lock myself up and cry thinking of all the problems that kept popping up every so often and to which I couldn’t find a possible solution to. Yes, I thought of quitting, running away, taking up a daily job, driving Uber, freelancing or even going back to school. Things were more down than up. Optimism could only mask the issues temporarily and they were back, even more relentless, bigger.

But I understood the world simply doesn’t give two hoots about your worries or sadness and it keeps rotating. Unendingly.. And it’s then when I realized that no one preferred to listen to your whining, no matter how genuine your reasons were. This was the greatest realization (for mankind) I feel, after Archimedes’ one in the bath tub. And personally, I’m much more emotionally stable and contained than I ever was, and amazingly have become more adept at analyzing situations.

  • Your family is your foundation. Not your backup!

I have no shame in admitting that I always thought that I could fall back onto my family if things got worse . Getting into entrepreneurship, this was my backup plan. If shit happened, poof… back into the safe zone of the family. But gradually I started understanding the true value of family and that I had no right to shove my risks and troubles into my family, expecting them to come save the day. (Note : Till date neither did my family ever even hint about this nor will they ever , since they are epic!). I came to understand that I had to cut out my own path in this world and do so with my head and heart intact. This leads me to my third revelation which is…

  • … I’m slowly turning into an ‘Adult’!

Boy, was this a mighty revelation at all. Being the official family comedian and happy-go-lucky guy, I scoffed at anyone who asked me to be mature. I really did not agree with the viewpoint of being serious or thoughtful to be pre-requisite for being an adult. It was all in the right decisions and being a responsible funny guy , preached I. Nope.

I started thinking of life, career, future, savings and milestones in life. I couldn’t envision these things through any funny angle how much ever I tried. Life was molding me in its cogs to be an adult I realized. I no longer believed in partying until dropping dead, spending sleepless nights binge-watching movies, nor fill carts after carts through addictive online shopping (all of which I would have sworn by, didn’t make me any less an adult!). I started wearing formal ironed shirts for meetings, maintaining to-do lists, calendar markings,  and what not. Hell, I even started marking my emails with color tags in Gmail! I realized slowly but surely that being an adult isn’t about being any less funny or more serious ; it was simply about priorities and choices.

  • You need friends. You are no Superman!

If I stressed earlier about family , I can’t stress enough of having friends. Not the kind where there are thousands of them on your Facebook or Instagram, but you have no clue of who the person is. Rather those friends with whom you could hang out when you are happy/sad/angry/bitchy/nagging/high/elated/pissed or just basically any emotion on the human emotion spectrum, and still be yourself. It surely again doesn’t mean that you can be all emo and dependent on them (Refer point 1), but it helps give you perspectives that you can’t see. Luckily I have a few of them and I’m ever so grateful for them! I could kiss them outta love ! 😉

  • Failure is ok. Laziness/Procrastination not so!

I will accept once and for all, I’m born lazy. To put things in perspective, if there was a prize of million bucks and all I had to do was to just walk a kilometre for it, I would happily give that up and then later bluff of how charitable I was. I always procrastinated and thought light of the “gone time… blah blah blah.. time and tide.. blah blah” and believed in doing things at my own pace. My explanation (or rather an argument)? ” I should feel to do it. I can’t be forced!” Also, fear of failure/rejection/non-completion of things started etc made it, even more, harder for me.Well, entrepreneurship and life, in general, taught me rather clearly , how much of a naive man I was. I understood the effort mattered more than the achievement.

Proof I am improving? Heck, I’m blogging again after 1.5 years , am I not?! 😀

Well, I’ve got so much more to tell, but this is the gist of it all. Am I successful yet? Nope. Have I planned it all down to the last bit? Am I all serious and mature? Not at all. I hardly have any savings yet. But I’m learning, and with an open mind I keep finding new things in life, and I find inherently all of it a challenge. And I’m thankful for all that I have gone through in life. Cos’ as some old wise man said – It was those very paths that lead me to be who I am now!

Oh yeah!!

(drops mic)….. 😀