There are very few subliminal moments in history. Moments that leave an everlasting impact. For many Indians, November 8, 2016 happened to be one of them.
The build up:
Around 6 pm, the North Block Secretariat in New Delhi was abuzz with activity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held several secret talks with his minister through the day, met President Pranab Mukherjee. Indian ‘National Media’ lapped it up. Several assumed India was going on a war with Pakistan in the wake of Surgical Strikes conducted by India in September 2016.
At 8, PM Modi began his speech, for 15 minutes the Prime Minister spoke about ‘Lakshmi’ ‘Money’ ‘Indian Economy’ ‘Dhan’ . The speech seem pretty tame, and just when several would have set this aside as just another bhashan, came the shocker: the NoteBandi
At 8:15 pm: PM Modi banned Rs 500 & Rs 1000 with effect from midnight of November 9.
Money, Money, Money:
For the next two days all ATMs were shut old currency had to be withdraw and new Rs 500 & Rs 2000 notes had to be introduced. Long serpentine queues were seen outside banks and even when ATMs opened on November 11, there was a crisis. The machine only dispensed Rs 2000. Rs 500 notes entered the market much, much later. So with Rs 1000 and Rs 500 absent people were forced to withdraw only one big note: Rs 2000. But with absence of a smaller change many were unable to make any purchases. Many supermarket, restaurant, eateries and shops flatly refused to accept Rs 2000 note.
The virtual crunch:
With almost no mode of transaction left people shifted to virtual currency. Cards became a popular mode of payment in the urban areas. But many refused to swipe cards for transaction below 100 forcing people to spend more.
Paytm and UPI-based apps also brought little relief for many. Not every one had access to smart phones. Not every one understood app based payment system.
In the last one year, India has seen several surveys & press conferences from both Congress & BJP to either highlight the achievements of the move or to discredit them.
History will the best judge for impact this move had on terrorism, black money, trading etc. But the fact of the matter is this was poorly executed move.
The notes should have been eliminated in a phase wise manner or impetus should have been given to financial transaction before catching people off guard.
Regardless of the long term impact , the big question is, Will DeMo turn into a Demon for Namo in 2019?
Blog by Isheeta Bali