Demonetization
Demonetization

I watched with great awe and interest The Prime Ministers National address on demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes which essentially made more than three-quarters of our currency worthless from the midnight of November 8th, 2016.

My initial impression was that this is a masterstroke, an economic blitzkrieg and one of the gutsiest decision by any leader in any  democratic set up any part the world in recent modern history that I am aware of .

The cancer of corruption and black money had eroded the essence and moral fabric of our civil society and was metastasizing like the most virulent cancers to every aspect of our life and only the most radical of radical surgeries would and could save our society from this deadly cancer and in my opinion The Prime minister had performed this radical surgery with great panache in a confidential manner in the fastest time possible. In medical terms this would mean surgery par excellence that could be achieved only by a brilliant surgeon with extraordinary skills.

I thought all sections of the society except the corrupt and hoarders of ill-gotten wealth would welcome this with folded hands. However the next few days were very confusing for me as I witnessed a slew of demonstrations by various political parties, organizations against this and the pain it caused to the common man. Adding to the confusion was the intriguing  opinions given by various experts both for and against in this procedure .

This really got me thinking and since I am no expert in this field after a  lot of common sense driven trepidation my views are

Whatever anyone may say this is truly a landmark decision taken in the interest of the nation which will go a long way in eradicating corruption and black money in the long run .

A great impetus to reduce the deficit and bring back money to the circulation in a healthy manner and bring down inflation.
The significant short term benefits we see are the drastic reduction of funding of terrorists and anti-national elements in the country ( we are already seeing this in Kashmir and Naxal-infested areas).

Get rid of the scourge of fake currency coming  from across the border esp used to fund terrorism.
Bring in transparency in elections and bring down the concept of note for vote.

Break the unholy nexus of unscrupulous businessmen and power brokers duping and looting the exchequer.

Better tax collections by expanding  the banking business and use of plastic money making deals more transparent and all this would certainly  reduce inflation and help reduce taxes and infuse more money into developmental projects.

Of course, it goes without saying that a significant amount of inconvenience has been caused to the common man and  there have been some hiccups in the implementation of this extraordinary program. But an exercise of this magnitude in a very diverse country like ours where secrecy was of utmost importance some of these were inevitable .

It is also true that though this measure has substantially shaken up the black economy of the country it has also caused collateral damage and disrupted the cash economy very prevalent in the country esp. in daily wage earners, petty traders, and rural farming sector. I do believe the government is aware of this and will take remedial measures to protect the latter group and water will find its level soon.

It is also true that this measure alone will not completely eradicate the black parallel economy and  many other measures like going after benaami properties  black money invested in gold and diamonds, hawala racketeering and money parked abroad illegally is also needed  to complete the exercise begun. We had to begin somewhere and this was certainly a brilliant way to start the innings.

All in all the prime minister needs to be congratulated in having the  courage, the conviction, and the guts to take this extraordinary measure, an economic coup of sorts in the long term interest of the country and we certainly hope this is the beginning of the end for the black markets in the country.

Long live India

God Bless and Jai Hind

Dr. H Sudarshan Ballal, MD, FRCP (London)Chairman – Manipal Hospitals

Manipal Hospitals, 98, HAL Airport Road, Bangalore-560017

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are of the writer and not of the hospital.

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