Demonetization & Lockdown

Demonetization & Lockdown

The NDA government is in power since last six year, it will be completing two successive terms in the office in year 2024. There is high probability it will get majority on its own in the general election of 2024. The composition of parliament and government will start changing from year 2029 onwards. BJP came to power on the promise of cleansing the political and economic system of the country but over the years it has become more or less like congress than providing any alternative to the nation. Political parties are not just about capturing power by any means but they are the biggest moral force for the country.

The roadmap of NDA is lost and the direction has evaporated. They swept the elections in every state but lost the direction in pursuit of power. We will remain middle income country in the decades to come. BJP is has become more or less like the Congress party when it was in seat of power. There have become similar in their objective. The party has lost the moral high ground .The citizen may vote for them but vote with regret as they have little choice or alternative. The opposition is quite weak and fragmented. They lacked the substance and engaged in rhetoric. They failed to capitalize on the policy blunders of the government of the day and the government of the day was smart enough to divert the attention of the citizen under the grab of jingoistic nationalism. If the Hindi media or some English channels are to believed, we have already reached Beijing and defeated the military and economic might of China. We have started winning wars in the living rooms instead of battlefield. The citizens are made to believe, that we have defeated the economic might of China by boycotting them economically and putting tariff and non-tariff barrier on imports from their country. Someone in the government said we made digitally strike at the country another said we will stop import of electrical equipment’s from China, all noise reaching a crescendo to make the citizen believe in the words of their beloved leadership. Adam smith words have been proved correct that you are more misinformed than informed by reading newspaper (He was not living in era of satellite TV).

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Democratically elected government having majority and are sovereign but above all they have the moral force. A country cannot be developed nation by mere slogan. “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But, if you must be without one, be without strategy” General Normal Schwarzkopf. When a democratically elected government is in power they must become the moral force of highest order. In last six years two of the government decisions defy the logic of gravity. The demonetization of November 2016 and lockdown of March 2020. Both these decision destroyed more lives and wealth than the corruption of last 75 years since independence. The demonetization of 2016 was mother of all corruption. It was halfhearted measured for halfhearted reasons. It was designed for failure since the beginning poorly planned and poorly executed ,where the old notes were freely exchanged over the counter or by depositing money in bank accounts. It was just a tamsha done for the entertainment for the citizens and media. It was a monumental crime where the black economy was converted overnight into white economy with the aid and assistance of the government. Had the government been serious about the black money it would have taken concrete step last 6 years by implementing couple of measures such as:

• Prosecuting top 100 economic defaulters of the country and confiscation their assets in India and abroad.
• Putting limit on cash withdrawal per month from saving and current account limited to Rs. 50000.00 per month.
• No cash sales above Rs. 2000.00 from government/ private owned hotels, Gems and Jewelry shops, Hospitals, petrol pumps etc.

The genesis /logic of cash economy need clarity. What we cannot measure we cannot control. The sources of black money need to be arrested. The tax collection can be tripled if we adopt digitization but four year after the demonetization the cash in circulation has grown up than they were in before November 2016. People don’t pay taxes or use dishonest means as they don’t trust the government, they may be voting but they don’t trust the government as they feel the government is dishonest. The demonetization has not broken the backbone of black economy but it has strengthened the black economy over the years.

Other decision which had impacted the society and economy at large is lockdown of March -2020. We announced lockdown without any objective and rationale without evaluating all the possibilities and created unprecedented economic situation resulting in migration workers marching with their belonging and kids to their villages. It was heart rendering and after partition such painful migration was never seems. Only war can create such large wave of migration, our migration was different it was march of poor people whom our society and government never cared. World may praise our achievements but what is the use of that achievement when we cannot remove the poverty and kids are begging beneath the IIT Delhi flyover which has produced many billionaires . The long march of workers from cities to their villages shows our real character. We can go to hug NRI’s in US but we create barricades between us and the workers in our home country, we will talk about underprivileged people but we will dine and wine with Bollywood. We have not learned from history, rarely government in power are open to learning and listen to the criticism. If we cannot question we cannot progress. The development of science and technology is just about questioning and criticism. It is never too late for mid-course correction. We laughed at the world about their failures to contain COVID-19 now we have become the laughing stock. Our celebration to contain the spread of Corona virus was premature and in poor taste. The biggest democracy and nation of 140 Billion people will remain democratic but poor. Abraham Lincoln has aptly said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to taste a man’s character, give him power”.

(Sajal Singh)

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