What our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has done today is epic. He has waged a downright offensive against black money… or is it a surgical strike?
Be that as it may, he has taken a decisive step towards the ‘healing’ of a bleeding economy. The message is simple, clear and stands out like the Bulund Darwaza of Fatehpur Sikri – No! No! No!… a thousand times NO to black money!
To cut a long story short, from today (that is 8th November) midnight, the currency note of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 will be of no use to anyone for they will be withdrawn from circulation. By the time this post becomes live, we will be left holding many pieces of paper in our hands… without any value, without any importance. Tomorrow (read 9th November) won’t be a very pleasant morning for many, indeed
Saying that the Prime Minister surprised us all will be putting it very mildly. I am sure those with hordes of unaccounted money will be squirming in their shoes. Already people began to throng the ATMs right after the announcement in an effort to ‘collect’ as many smaller notes as they could
And the poor mason, who was paid his daily wage in Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 today, will have a shock when he learns that his money is not valid anymore tomorrow! He will squirm, too, just like the ‘hoarders’, but for another reason! This will be a dilemma of many a people in the days to come.
While the social media is exploding at its seams, the politicians and the politically affiliated (as well as motivated) are going overboard with praising or denouncing the man who brought about this situation. Everyone has something to say in this regard, and if he hasn’t… well, he can always repeat what he has heard!
So, the question comes to the mind – is this a war on black money, or just money… any money? Your money? My money? The Prime Minister is clear on this count – the people’s money will remain with them. They will have 50 days to exchange (limited to Rs. 4000 up to 24th November) and deposit their booties of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 in their accounts. The ones with the unaccounted money [let me call them ‘The Chosen Ones’ for the intent of this article] will have to decide what to do with theirs… how much to declare and how much to use for ‘chana jor garam’.
“RBI will launch new currency notes from November 10,” says the Economic Affairs Secretary, Shaktikanta Das. These notes will have a denomination of Rs. 500 and Rs. 2000 and will have new dimensions, as well. These are said to be Braille compliant, too. So, in the long run, things will turn out fine. These are ‘teething’ trouble and we need to sit tight and bear it. Teething trouble as the banks and the ATMs will be closed on 9th and 10th November; long queues at the bank in the subsequent days; limited daily and monthly withdrawal and so on. And, once the period is over, it will probably be hunky dory as before (well, not 100% as that would mean the Chosen Ones hoarding again!). The hard earned money of the people will not be lost. It will be for them to use as they please albeit in a different form.
While this war, against black and counterfeit money, is worth fighting, we must not forget the Pareto Principle. Also called the 80/20 rule, the principle holds a steady mirror to us – 20% of the ‘Chosen Ones’ are going to have a big hand in creating problems for the 80% yet again.
And, in the meantime, the common man, who incidentally is the backbone of the nation, will once again be left flabbergasted and, perhaps, a little angry – not because the move is against him; but, because he doesn’t understand what hit him!
Having said that, the Prime Minister’s action in question is very bold and forthcoming. He seems to have hit the solar plexus of black money with a mighty blow. One hopes that black money and counterfeiting fake currency will be reigned in… That we would be really, really free from this social malpractice (I wouldn’t use ‘evil’ as it is too strong a word). I hope so for the sake of my mason, my maid, my cook, my car washer… and last of all, for myself!
With one fell sweep, the Prime Minister has shown the pieces of paper (the erstwhile Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000) their rightful place – that of a piece of paper! His in the face action against corruption and black money is an example of walking the talk. What will happen in the future remains to be seen.