Demonetisation: Whose money is it anyway?

Demonetisation may be a good online course correction to our black money plagued economy but its implementation that is causing undue hardship to the common man is actually inviting more of brickbats than bouquets to the Centre. People are cursing the way in which this has been unleashed and the chaos it is creating in the day to day living conditions of crores of ordinary people.  Whose money is it anyway?

This demonetisation could have been implemented in a more methodical manner.  Printing of new currency note of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 is stated to have commenced sometime during November 2015.  From that day onwards, banks could have been issued secret instructions to release only Rs 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 notes to people who were drawing small sums say, between Rs 20,000 and Rs 40,000 and for big players who were transacting in lakhs, they could have been handed over Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.

This way, ordinary people could have been enabled with more number of lesser denominations and could have led life without the hassle of running around for exchanging demonetised notes of higher denomination.  On the flip side, government could have easily identified large money players who have, on a war footing either exchanged or deposited or purchased gold with higher denomination notes.  It is also stated that in the case of Rs 500 notes, except for the colour of the note, the security features are the same as old notes and it is possible to create duplicates, as before.

Even now it is not late. This plan of action could achieve its goal if government does not keep on creating panic in the minds of the people by setting target dates for exchange of currencies for one reason or the other.  Senior citizens, lowly paid workers and street vendors are the worst hit.  Every sphere of daily life has been severely affected and there are signs of worsening situation in the coming days after November 24 for exchange and final cut off date December 30, 2016.

When authorities can go to door to door for collection of taxes etc., the same method could be adopted with due diligence and proper nuts and bolts in place.  Let bank employees visit homes of their customers, collect necessary identification details, get the form filled for exchange, hand over the valid currency notes so that people will not be put to further hardship.  Alternatively, dates for exchange may be extended and maximum amount may be increased to Rs 10,000 so that their visits to the banks would be worth the time and energy.

– Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

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