Demonetisation of currency notes and its poor implementation which had resulted in immense suffering of people had created a ‘demonised atmosphere’ in the country. Comparatively, people were more hit by demonetisation than the emergency,opined Dr Ashok Kumar NS, Professor,Bangalore University. Speaking at a seminar on ‘Demonetisation and media – Media’s attitude towards demonetisation,’organised as part of ongoing five-day XL Indian Social Science Congress, by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Mysore, Dr Kumar said that “only a few sections of people were hit during the emergency as freedom of speech and expression was banned. But the demonetisation drive had affected everyone.”
“The ineffective implementation of the policy which has resulted in cash crunch has deprived people of access to their hard-earned money. Everyone is hit by demonetisation,” Dr Kumar added.
He further said that demonetisation phenomena were not new to the world as it was attempted by more than nine countries in the past. “Before India announced its demonetisation policy, nine countries had already tried it including Pakistan, Australia, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Soviet Union, etc. The attempt miserably failed everywhere except in Pakistan and Australia for the two countries had given enough time to exchange money,” Dr Kumar pointed out.
While the most of India is up in arms against the demonetisation and noted economists have described it as a failure, Venezuela,Dr Kumar cited as the recent example that withdrew its decision to demonetise 100 Bolivar currency notes after the government received flak from the people.
Dr Kumar expressed his concern over media not taking up the issue the way it should. He underlined the role of local media in educating the masses about both positive and negative impact of demonetisation. He also recalled the support of media to the government’s economic liberalisation policy in 1991in convincing Railway employees who were in opposition of the computerisation of Railways.
He also criticised the government’s move to go digital and cashless considering the fact that most of the villages in the country had no electricity. Senior journalist Ravindra Bhatt pointed out that the Central government has, with the deposit of over 14 lakh crore scrapped notes in banks since November 9, realised that the black money was not in form of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. He sought media’s intervention in explaining to the common man about the policy. “If it is good explain them how and vice versa. Nobody is explaining it to people,” he lamented.
Senior journalists Umesh Bhatt also spoke on the occasion.