The working style of the government of India should be commended. When the Prime Minister took over the charge, his supporters all over the country and his party, the BJP, had created an impression that Narendra Modi had boosted India’s image across the world many times over, and India, for the first time, could deal with world on equal terms. According to them the “sumptuous praise” of Modi by foreign media had enhanced “our” standing in the world, and it was a matter of pride for India. However, at that time – when these claims were being made – I tried to seek the truth and scour the foreign media. To my disappointment I could not find any newspaper eulogizing India, or for that matter Modi, as it was claimed by the media back home.It makes sense if a political party indulges in self-aggrandisement, but the way Indian media was covering initial foreign trips of the prime minister and giving impression that due to those trips India’s reputation had been enhanced is beyond me to understand. Anyway, two years have passed since then. Prime Minister was constantly on foreign trips during all those days. The frequency of his foreign trips was such that people started saying jokingly that he would come to visit India and then go abroad. This joke might be the handiwork of his political opponents, but sadly it appears true. In those days Prime Minister had no time to resolve the problems phasing country. He had no time to assess how the announcement he been making are being implemented. Today when we look back at his announcements, we could not find as to how much work has been done on what account.
The government fails to bring out any progress report on the announcements made by the Prime Minister in the last two years. Most of BJP’s MPs and MLAs shy away from visiting villages; they say in private that they have nothing to show the villagers? Despite the Prime Minister’s repeated call they are not going to their constituency for fear of people.
And now comes the news of international rating agency Moody’s. Moody’s asks the government of India that in two and half years what you have done that we should improve you international rating? In fact Moody’s is an organization which gives ranking for every country. Based on that ranking, foreign investors invest in that country. It is a system developed by the market. Now we are also part of that market, hence Moody’s rating is very important for us. The government India asked Moody’s to improve India’s rating, because the government of India has done a lot of works. They enumerated all the works that often figures in the Prime Minister’s announcements. Moody’s response was that you haven’t done anything which can improve your rating. Earlier, on its part the Forbes magazine said that note band was wrong and unethical decision. It has driven people into the sea of trouble. Note ban was announced on 8 November. Immediately after that announcement the Asian Development Bank, which estimated India’s growth rate of 7.6 per cent, has revised the figure of growth rate at just 7 percent.
If we set reactions to other magazines aside and talk of only these three, we believe that supporters of the government will brand these three agencies anti-national and anti-India agencies. Be that as it may, I could not understand the figures – there were Rs. 14.60 lakh currency notes in 500 and 1000 denominations in the market, and by 15 December Rs. 15.44 lakh of those were back to the RBI. Thereafter, the RBI has stopped giving figures, but my sources informed that the figure has touched 17 lakh crore. Now it is beyond me to understand that if there were 14.60 lakh crores notes in the market, from where on earth the government received 17 lakh crore? While the Government estimate was that only 4 lakh crore will be back, the rest will not come back. The money that will not back into the system will black money or money used by terrorists. Now how come such a large amount of money comes back to the system? Had the India government not kept tabs on the money coming to them as to whether what they are getting is counterfeit or black money or genuine? We are waiting for the Government to announce that in fact Rs. 17 lakh crore were in the market and all have come back to the system. If it is so, then how the government will explain its previous claim that only Rs. 4 lakh crores will come back to the system, the rest will be considered black money. It shows that the Government of India, the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India are all incompetent. They have assaulted the economy big time. They helped those counterfeit currency – whether they were 400 crore or 400 lakh crore – to come back in the system and replace those fake currency with the genuine currencies. We fail to recognise that we are bringing the fake notes in Government exchequer; the government could not put a system in place to purge such currency. We also failed to get hold to the money that is with terrorists had and our prime minister had mentioned in his speech.
The burden of demonetization has pushed the Indian economy several years backwards. This burden has eaten up millions of jobs in the country. According to a rough estimate, in next two months 10 to 40 million unemployed will roam around on the streets of India. Many big companies have fired thousands of their employees. The retail trade have relieved their daily wages employees. Now we are treading on the path of cashless economy as declared by the prime minister.
Now the Government is saying, or perhaps the Prime Minister himself is saying, that the exercise of demonetization was not to affect terrorists or black money but to initiate a cashless economy. Now the country is moving towards cashless economy. In a country where banks are in short supply, the future of cashless economy is not beyond anybody’s imagination. In our country, in a three-minute call on mobile, the consumer has to endure three call drops and has to pay three times as much. In a country where mobile network is inappropriate, we talk of cashless economy, using mobile phones. Shopkeepers use the same network for swipe machines that are connected with the Banks, and many a time customers have to wait for 40-45 minutes to pay their bill. The machine hangs, line hangs. Once I personally experienced such a situation. After waiting for 45 minutes to pay my bill in a shop, I had to go out empty handed.
It cannot be said that the government’s infrastructure is zero, but given the enormity of task at hand the infrastructure is ‘near zero’. Despite this fact, we have filled the pockets of those companies that issue credit cards/debit cards. At this moment the citizens of the country, who has to pay nearly 49 percent as tax, has to pay additional 5 percent to credit card and debit card companies as commission, we do that only because we buy things using the cards. Even after paying all the taxes, we have to pay extra five percent as transaction fees. The government is insisting on cashless economy, and stopped talking about black money and counterfeit notes. The government talked of such things in a country where – due to the shortcomings of whosoever – illiteracy is very high. Where every citizen has no access to bank and ATM, there are many places where electricity has not yet reached, there are place which are still inaccessible even by roads, we are talking of cashless economy in that country. It would be better if the government elaborates as to how many countries have opted for cashless economy.
Perhaps we are living in a dream world that cashless economy will bring employment to our homes, increase salaries, generate jobs, and make life easier. Electricity, roads, means of communication, hospitals and schools will be accessible to everybody. We should wait and watch. But if this does not happen, or if it does not appear to happens, then what?
It is the good fortune of the people of India that they often get prime ministers and they often get political parties, who showed them dreams. The people of India believe in those dreams. Dreaming is their fate. But the course of realising their dreams profits rich of the country. All the steps of the governments and political parties fill the coffers of big industrialists, capitalists and big corporate houses. Whatever remains in the pockets of general public also goes into the vault of the rich. It has been happening since beginning. This time this has been done in a very scientific manner; in such a manner that the people who empty their pockets were happy by the fact that his neighbour’s has to pay more than he has paid. Now 50 days have passed, and how many more days will pass after these 50 days is unknown. I agree completely with the Prime Minister’s claim that those who were standing in the queues were thieves and black money hoarders. I also agree with the Prime Minister when said all the Jandhan accounts should investigated that where the money in it come from. I also agree with this assertion of the Prime Minister’s that the countries about to take a big leap and become a world power and we will implement cashless economy. Now I pray that may God prove my beliefs correct and grant the Government of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi the name and fame that they deserve.