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.

Indian Entrepreneur 101 – How not to suck at being one!

A Young Entrepreneur on a Hot Day at Portland State

Right now as I sit in front of my laptop to blog, almost after 2 months, I can hardly construct meaningful sentences of the thoughts that are swirling a million to the buck in my head. And no I don’t god forbid, have Alzheimer’s. It’s just the after effects of my day-night efforts to become an entrepreneur in this country where all engineer’s ultimately become one, due to lack of jobs 🙂

Let me expound.

As I’ve mentioned before my path from engineering to event management, it wasn’t always hard to hate engineering. Least of all the luring image of me sweating and grunting against some groaning machine all covered in grease and lube, made sure I shuddered even during my quarter life crisis, that I never take up an engineering job. However I was to learn the grass is not always greener on the other side as some myopic old man quipped in the past. Judging on the basis of my creative juices that always had wanted a vent to escape and bring forth ideas and execute them since childhood, I went with my gut instinct of setting up my own event management company. And hence in the past  few months, I resigned from my earlier employer’s company and went about  starting up my dream. But now having become one, let me tell you my readers, the deathtrap’s and the ways how not to suck when you want to become a self-accomplished entrepreneur.

Company Name

Firstly, the name of your company. This is a never-ending loop of writing down and crossing out all those witty, fantastic names you think of. Mostly because, the one you like, your partner won’t like. The one he likes, you won’t. And if by any random occurrence of a meteorite landing in your backyard, both of you like it, its guffawed and spat on by that third person you went to opinion for. And hence, this takes an eternity while you satisfy your family and friends, your partners family and friends and finally, if at all that name hasn’t been taken up by some other guy yet, you finalize it.

Stylizing your Company 

Secondly, you set about the rules, styling and vibe of your organization. This again is a rabbit hole in Alice’s wonderland, since you can’t allegedly  be ‘inspired’ from anywhere lest you wanna stand yourself in a court for plagiarizing from similar companies. So you start giving your dream a unique face, feel and vibe. But hey, your partner gets a sudden idea and wants it incorporated too. Then your dad has one. Then your dad’s uncle thrice removed on his mom’s side has a spark. If you so much as dare to oppose them saying it’s your company and your partner, be ready for explicit Malayalam wrath and curse to be showered, sentencing your entire generation to be blind, crippled and suffering from smallpox . In short, it would have been better, you didn’t start the company in the first place, with all the expletives and curses hanging in the air, wafting about reminding of the impending doom for the company. But if at all you satisfy all these people, and decide on the corporate styling you adopt, congratulations. You just finished a quarter of the work required.

Creating your company stationery 

Next we need to design the company logo, website and related brochures, fliers etc. Welcome to the inferno. You just realized you are exhausted from the previous steps and just want to curl up and go to sleep. But it’s not to be so. So you sit down with your designer and give him a brief of what you want. He patiently jots down all of them and says he will have a couple of site samples done within 2 weeks. Since you are in India, you would have three national holidays, couple of hartals and bandhs, Saturdays and Sundays  and finally if the odds come in your favor, in the second month you see those samples. Luckily, it has not even a remote semblance of what you actually asked for. Again you go on a roller coaster idea of having the website have everything you want to be in the right place  and gel with the earlier vibe and style you have adopted for the company. While this is happening, parallelly you have your company logo to be designed. Again you have the entire process repeated as you see logos after logos but nothing special. And one fine day, you suddenly see the logo that you realize would sync with the company outlook. (It’s only sad later when you realize that you have become so tired and bleary with all the logo samples you saw, that you just confirmed the one logo that you had rejected in one of the early samples given to you, albeit in a different color -_-). Finally, when you have all in hand ready, you just finished half of what you set out for.

Official Registration and Office set-up

If you are still up and running by this time, congratulations. You have true skills to be an entrepreneur in this great country and you can take a lot of bullshit. Searching for a cost-effective office space in an accessible place locally, and in a building which doesn’t shout the 19th century, is mission impossible. However, since you have to, at least, do justice to all those time, energy and months that you escaped those living ancestors curse, didn’t get bankrupt yet and those beautiful website and logos that are waiting to be criticized by the world are still there, you have to go on. Day after day you run after brokers who claim to be descendants of Parashuram himself that there is yet a place in Kerala, he hasn’t sold. Multiply this guy with two more others and you have the whole dynasty and clan of parashuram running around and calling you relentlessly on your phone, claiming to have found ‘the one’ place. Finally, hopefully, you do.

The Launch

And finally, you are set to roll. Don’t worry. There are yet no clients and if lucky you have nothing to show your efforts as an actually relevant event management company.(However personally I was lucky on this single aspect as we had events up our sleeves given by our awesome understanding clients and hence could display some photos worthy of our salt). But don’t give up now. You have your entire rep staked on this and now if you back off, you better suicide than listen to those so-called family and friends, which starts with ‘I told you so !’. Just hold on to your beliefs and your pants ( since you must have reduced at least 2 sizes from the sleepless nights) and keep your head high of what you have already accomplished. Trust me when I say this. Only a few people face these insurmountable adversities and become businessmen. I know I’m one now. Hopefully my post helps you become one too.

See you on the other side 😀