Cover Story

Currency ban and the common man

  The ban on 500 and 1000 notes has caused serious problems for both the economy and the society. The objective of the ban was to root out black money and corruption and give the citizens a better life. On the contrary it has failed to accomplish both the tasks and has even caused severe damages to the economy and to the society on the whole. Markets have fallen down as normal business has been severely. People have to abandon their daily business and offices to stand in the queue for long hours, sometimes for the entire day with little hope that they will finally get their hard earned notes. Many people have died due to the hardship of standing in the queue and tensions and depression. And in this situation, the people are being taught lessons on patriotism.
Due to the note ban, the business of changing notes on commissions has also flourished. Traders cannot withdraw a big amount to purchase commodities and are suffering loss of business. Contrary to the claim of the government, the currency ban has triggered rise in prices of commodities. Marriages have been postponed or broken because of the crisis of new notes. This has led to broken hearts and even deaths. The middle class and the poor are suffering because they cannot do financial transactions with credit cards while the rich and the super rich are comfortably sitting in their houses with credit cards and Swiss Bank accounts. The financial surgical strikes killed only the poor and the middle class not those involved in black marketing or corruption. Hospitals have not accepted new notes to release patients or cure them resulting in death of men and women without treatment or medicine. Prisoners have not been able to common out of jail even after getting bail as they could not pay in new notes. The government claims that the old notes were banned to curb terrorism but ironically new notes were found on the body of a terrorist killed in Kashmir recently.
The BJP had promised to bring black money stashed in Swiss Banks before the elections. But instead of taking steps against Swiss bank account holders, the BJP government has taken step against the common people who are struggling hard to get their hard earned money back from their accounts for their day to day needs. They don't know anything about black money and illegal transaction.
The government has all the necessary apparatus and mechanism for fighting out corruption and black money. It has Income Tax department and intelligence agencies to specifically identify horders, black money holders and corrupt people.
It is also to be noted that the banks are only giving 2000 and 100 notes. Banks sometimes refuse to give money to banks due to the shortage of notes and instead give coupons for payments to be made later. It means that the government had not printed notes before the announcement of the ban and the decision was taken hastily without prior preparation and without informing the major banks about the impending action. Now the banks are giving people ten rupee notes but there is misinformation and confusion about the ten rupee notes which the government has failed to address. The court had to ask the government where the 100 rupee notes were as the account holders were handed over only 2000 notes which were difficult to use for small purchases.
In short, this surgical strike has boomeranged on the poor and the ordinary people and has caused immense damages to the economy and the society because of the unplanned and hasty decision of the central government. The centre should review its decision and take steps against terrorism and black money without hitting the economy and the poor. The entire country is against terrorism and black money.