We’re 16 days into Centre’s demonetisation experiment, and almost everyone is utterly confused. The government has come out with dozens of clarifications, extensions and exemptions. Some of them apply to all old notes, some only to old Rs. 500 notes. Some require bank managers to sign off. Everything involves standing in a queue. At this point, nobody with half a working brain cell can claim any more that this was a well-planned process, thought out months, even years in advance – a claim often repeated in the initial WhatsApp forwards.
Indeed, the government seems to have worked hard to make all its most dedicated supporters look silly by repeatedly cutting the ground from under their feet. Nothing that’s properly planned needs to have over 170 new rules added on (according to one count). Worst of all, the government seems intent on destroying trust in institutions. The big news in the past day, for example, was that it had chosen to shut down the exchange of old notes for new at banks.