India’s currency ban — Narendra Modi government’s all out war on black money

Well to be completely honest, I never really thought that I’d ever have an opportunity to use my favourite line from one of my  favourite all-time-classics: ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ — but voila! — here I am…using my favourite sentence from my favourite book to talk about one of my favourite Modi moves.

NarendraModi

And it is for this reason that November 8th 2016 is forever going to remain etched in my memory — for all times to come. You see, for not only was I sitting in the capital as I heard Prime minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation, I was speechless as I heard the man’s heartfelt speech. What he had effectively done – much to everyone’s amazement! -was create a scenario where it was literally, ‘the best of times – for some (people who only have ‘white’ money) and the worst of times – for others (people who only have ‘black’ money).

Of course, critics still continue to argue that this move is not adequate to bring the problem of black money under control (for most people are busy hoarding black money in gold and benaami property), truth is…every step brings us closer to accomplishing the humongous task, which means no step is small enough! Truth be told, Narendra Modi’s strike against black money, in a lot of ways, reminds me of yet another tryst we had at midnight – when India attained its independence. In a strangely romantic way, on the midnight of November 9th…as the currency notes (₹500 and ₹1000) ceased being legal tender…it brought us a glimpse of yet another type of freedom – ‘freedom from black money…freedom from terror funding…freedom from counterfeit notes’!

Of course, disbelievers and naysayers — as always! — still have much to say. An important point being raised is the fact that people weren’t given enough notice. This, in fact, has formed the basis for two senior advocates moving the Bombay High Court in order to urge it to take sum moto cognisance in the demonetisation matter. Their reasoning being simple – the government’s action was rushed, which had caused unprecedented inconvenience to general public.

Well, in all fairness to the two lawyers — their point is well made. In a utopian world, we would have loved to have had all the time in the world to get prepared for the move. But the problem is, we don’t live in a utopian world…these are difficult times and difficult times need difficult decisions. In fact, it would do us well to remember that the Prime Minister had dropped enough hints when he promised a merciless crackdown against black money post the deadline of September 30…which is exactly what he has done. And had he given too much of a window of time, there would be enough time available to dispose of this black money, which really wouldn’t have solved the purpose…after all. Thus, even though…it may have inconvenienced a few people…the reality is…It is too small a price to pay (pun, you can bet the small denomination notes you may be carrying, is intended)!!

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