By Santosh Bhartiya
I cannot sing from the same song-sheet that a mob sings in praise of powerful. Even if I wish to do so, I cannot be part of the mob that, like Chand Bardai, eulogizes people in power. My tenacious mind follows those principles of journalism which make me stand clear of such a mob, and prompt me to point out things related to powerful – people from both the ruling and the opposition parties – especially when their actions have direct bearing on the lives of general public. Unfortunately, it is not happening today, and we hear ubiquitous cacophonous noises only. However, there is a saying that a person with nose strayed into the village of nakte (noseless people), and the villagers started teasing him by calling him nakku (man with nose): “look, nakku has come.” This saying must have been created keeping in mind the current situation we are facing.
If there is God somewhere, I pray to Him that my apprehensions may prove wrong, and if it is so may He give me the opportunity to repent. The first apprehension: what does it means that Rs. 1000 and 500 demonetized currency notes of worth rupees 11 lakh crore have been deposited in banks? What if the banks receive old notes of worth more than Rs 14 lakh crore? And if that amount crosses the limit of Rs. 17 lakh crore, then what would be its impact on the economy? I want my apprehensions allayed from those who understand the economy and economics.
The decision to demonetize Rs. 1000 and 500 currency notes must have been taken after lot of thoughts, otherwise the prime minister of a country could not have taken such a decision. He must have deliberated upon the difficulties associated with it. He must have taken in account the associated crisis, people’s problem, and calculated the day in which he will be able to diminish those problems; otherwise the person holding prime minister’s post cannot be considered far-sighted. I believe Narendra Modi ji would have given a lot thought over these things. Nonetheless, if my doubts hold ground even after 25 days, it is because people are still suffering and they do not have cash. There are many places in the country, which are out of the range of television camera and newspapers reporter, where people hanker for milk, vegetables and daily food items. To get things on credit increasingly becomes difficult. In some part of the country, old barter system has resurfaced, but that it not enough for even for mundane life.
The big question that the government will not answer, but I would like the economists and the specialists in banking system to answer. This move has legitimized all the fake currency in the country and all the fake currency have been deposited in banks. Black money in currency notes was about 10 percent of total currency notes that too have been deposited in the banks. This fact will be proved only after December 30 when the government will announce the exact figure. As of writing these lines, demonetized currency notes of about Rs. 10 lakh crore has been deposited to banks, which according to the government is black money, while the public believe, a large part of it is their hard-earned money kept at home for times of need. Since notes have been demonetized, they have choice of either to replace them with new ones or request their neighbors to deposit in their accounts. Prior to this, it was estimated that in our economy 50 percent currency notes are fake and 50 percent are legitimate. If the legitimate currency in circulation was 14 lakh 60 thousand crore and 10 lakh crore have been deposited, then it means that in the name of legit currency, counterfeit currency has been deposited in banks. We would like to know from the economist and experts about the impact this on our economy. We are lay person in this matter; therefore, it is the duty of the experts to explain it to us.
The Government of India would have decided to mint less number of notes in order to test the patriotic feeling the people. People are standing in queue, depositing old currency but not getting new one in exchange. Television channels are continuously telecasting things in which it is shown that the government has taken a step to transform the country and poor people of the country is supporting this step, showering praise on this, saying if the soldier can stand on the border, why cannot we stand in queue for two days. We trust the thing being shown on TV that the country is overwhelmed by the patriotic sentiments. However, in their coverage they do not show 60 per cent of the village, where kharif crops are lying in the fields being unsold, as the agents or adhatis do buy crops in cash. It is strange situation. The agents have no new money to pay and the farmer will not take the older one because the notes have been withdrawn. That crop is lying unsold in the field. The farmers have no money to sow rabi crops, as they do not have money to buy seeds and fertilizers. Large farmers have money and they exchanged their old notes, but small, medium and marginal farmers do not have the money at all. They are unable to express his suffering, does it mean that they are supporting the move and silently enduring their suffering? They are unable to pay their children’s fee; they do not provision at home. Only after selling their crops, the farmers buy something for the joy of their family. They no way out, that is why they are supporting the move, and the situation is “promising” to me.
Third, I called upon the economists to make me understand that if the same amount of currency notes reaches in the hands of people as it is deposited in banks (i.e. 14 lakh 60 thousand crore), then how would it affect the black money. Because as of November 30 banks have received Rs. 10 lakh crore and only 4 lakh 60 thousand crore are out of the system and that too will return to the system by December 30, it will not hurt black money, but hurt the common people instead. Now when the fake currency notes have come into the system through banks, what the country has achieved? This assessment must be done by an economist or the government, because both the prime minister and the finance minster are saying that those standing in queue are black money hoarders, depositing their money in the banks.
The rupee has taken a dip in comparison to dollar. Now the question is: will rupees cross Rs. 70 a dollar mark? If it would happen, then prices of goods will increase, and then what would be cumulative impact of these on our imports and exports? India has a vast industrial structure in which we export many things and import many items. If the dollar goes beyond 70, then what will happen? How will it impact our market? What would be the cost of essential things? Those who do not have money, what will they do? What steps they would take to feed themselves and their families? I do not understand this, but the question bobs up in my mind and I am asking these questions with journalists, the television anchors who are involved in singing praises and the economists. Will they explain it to the people?
There is apprehension that if even after 20 December situation will not be normalized, if all the notes were not replaced and if people do not get new notes in their hands, then in order to meet their ends or to feed their children, will they not use unlawful means? I believe that they will not do so, because we are all patriotic people and everything is being linked with patriotism. If you oppose demonetization, you will be branded an anti-national or a traitor. If you ask that do not make a war-like situation, then will be branded as a traitor. To prove your patriotism you have to abuse Pakistan, because the minister in PMO Jitendra Singh says (though he does not say that overtly, but the inherent meaning of his utterance is that we do no harm Pakistan), that the people who are oppose to war or if it appears through their utterances that they support Pakistan, the government will take action against them. Jitendra Singh ji, this is an “impotent” anger. You fail to supply currency notes to the people of your country and you have not been able to subdue Pakistan. If you have strengths, then show it at the border.
A Kashmiri leader told me that instead of continuous war cry why not India attacks Pakistan and takes over Pak Occupied Kashmir. Kashmir problem will end once and for all, because Kashmiri people want to unite the whole Kashmir. This can be done either by negotiated or by war; and if, Jitendra Singh ji, you are so powerful, and you talk Prime Minister every day, you convince him to include entire Kashmir in India by attacking Pakistan. And resolve Kashmir issue once and for all. But you will not do so. Then on whom do you vent your ire and intimidate? You vent your ire on whom you vent it today. Will we take those intellectuals in India to the task who are opposed to the war and who opposed to demonetization move? You mean to suggest these people are making opinion in favour of Pakistan, but in fact you are doing so by projecting Pakistan as powerful. For that matter similar atmosphere is being created by the paid intellectuals who curse Pakistan, as if Pakistan is trying to control everything in India. These are the people who are responsible of making Pakistan big, and you too are included in them.
I request the government that it should apply its mind and answer these questions. To alley looming doubts the government should take all the risks. Jitendra ji, do analyze our whole security arrangement. Because just a few days earlier, in a statement regarding terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir our military accept that attack happen due to our fault. Have you seen that report? You would not have seen that report because you do not believe in seeing reports. What can I do except saluting and wishing for future to people like you and bemoaning about the future of the country.