Demonetization In India: Test For Modi’s Courage Of Conviction – OpEd


When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetization of high value currency notes on November 8, 2016, it was shock and surprise for everyone in India including political parties. Many people developed admiration for Mr. Modi for his courage in announcing such a drastic measure and thought that this would be a decisive step in eliminating corruption and black money in India.

The opposition political parties who were caught unaware remained confused for a few days and then realizing that they would become irrelevant if Modi were to have his way, started criticizing his move severely.

While there was broad support for the demonetization move in the beginning, people, who have not been exposed to such conditions in the past, started feeling the pinch of cash crunch. The black money holders and corrupt persons started looking for loop holes to convert their black money into white and some succeeded, with the cooperation of some corrupt bank officials.

Of course, Mr. Narendra Modi and his pledged admirers defended the demonetization move in the media and public forums, while the critics were ruthless.

Mr. Modi facing test of his life

In any case, the demonetization move stood the test of time for fifty days and people, by and large, have stood by Mr. Modi.

Many people think that if this demonetization measure would not yield the results, the feasibility of India getting rid of corruption in the foreseeable future would become remote. Having raised the expectations of the people about his anti corruption commitment to a very high level, Mr. Narendra Modi is now facing the challenge of fulfilling the expectations of the people. With election in the five states taking place in the next few weeks, Mr. Modi is facing the real test.

Do or die battle

Whatever may be the result in the state assembly elections, the political observers are bound to view it as a verdict of the nation on Mr. Modi’s demonetization move.

Of course, irrespective of the results in the state assembly election, Mr. Modi would stay on in power as Prime Minister for the next thirty months until India would go for next parliamentary election.

Mr. Modi has a do or die battle in front of him.

With relentless attack from opposition political parties, a nearly hostile media and pledged critics who seem to have developed great animosity towards Mr.Modi for whatever reasons and several non governmental organisations whose liberal fund flow from abroad are being checked by the Modi government wanting Mr. Modi to go , the battle for Mr. Modi in the next thirty months would really be hard.

Weak government machinery

The common men largely from lower and middle income group who are the victims of widespread corruption in India for the last several years, expect Mr. Modi to catch hold of the black money holders and corrupt persons , expose them in public, seize their ill gotten wealth and punish them severely. The million dollar question is whether Mr. Modi would be able to do this.

This doubt arises since the ground reality is that there is considerable level of corruption and dishonest practices existing amongst section of bureaucrats, tax officials and chartered accountants, who are expected to help Mr. Modi in fighting corruption.

With a weak government machinery and possibly several members of Mr. Modi’s party themselves not being above board and Mr. Modi’s party itself having received considerable amount of donation from rich business men (most of whom may be black money holders themselves), will Mr. Modi be able to effectively hurt these vested interests, which would only intensify opposition for him?

Test for Mr. Modi’s courage of conviction

Many people in India think that the level of commitment of Mr. Modi to curb corruption may not be the same as the level amongst several of his ministers and top officials.

So far, Mr. Modi has been checkmating them and he has to continue to do this in much more effective way. Further, several state governments are under the leadership of corrupt politicians and it is difficult for Mr. Modi to checkmate them in view of the complex and sensitive centre state relationship in the country.

Mr. Modi cannot afford to go down in his fight against corruption. In the unfortunate event of Mr. Modi failing to decisively defeat the corrupt forces, his political fortunes may face uncertainty.

As people are closely observing Mr. Modi’s speech, actions and even his body language and with enormous goodwill for Mr. Modi amongst people still intact, the whole world is watching Mr. Modi’s future moves carefully and with high expectations.

There are thirty months ahead for Mr. Modi before the next parliamentary election, when he has to necessarily ensure that the expectations of the common men are met . This can happen only if the corrupt forces are not only seem to be punished but also effectively punished to the satisfaction of the common man who dream of corruption free India.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

8 thoughts on “Demonetization In India: Test For Modi’s Courage Of Conviction – OpEd

  • January 9, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Yes Mr. Venkataraman, I fully agree with you. Modi seems to be one with real courage of conviction and the country ought to lend him support to come out of the present web of all encompassing corruption in which we are; and hopefully with all the inherent strength that we posses we will.
    Regards Panicker

  • January 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Modi’s success or failure in his drive against corruption and black money through demonetisation is not important. What will matter in the hustings is essentially his intentions. If his actions will appear to the masses as a ploy to win elections then Modi and his party is doomed for all times to come.

  • January 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    what is courage of conviction for the writer is gimmick according to me. Our PM very well knew that the fight against the corruption will be rendered useless if the same is fought in cohorts with the bureaucracy of present. unless the civil services are reformed and accountability is ensured the fight is bound to fail. PM has presented an extravaganza for public who got overawed by the sheer blitzkrieg.
    Why i do not trust single word of PM?
    Because past record of his as Gujrat PM did not provide corruption free administration. CAG report explicitly show that the corruption was as rampant as it was in rest of country. Secondly PM do not believe in institutional mechanism to fight corruption. No lokpal has been appointed in last 2 and half years with no lok ayukta in gujrat for most of his tenure.
    Thirdly who is going to investigate and prosecute the corruption cases. No doubt it will be police or cbi which is either thoroughly corrupt and inefficient. Unless police is made independent and accountable no fight against corruption is complete.
    Last but not the least the Court system in the country is understaffed and inefficient. It needs to be augmented to ensure good results.
    PM and his efforts scores poorly on all the above counts

  • January 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Fight against corruption and black money is a national anthem for the common man who feels powerless and enslaved to the babudom of government. This was welcomed with open arms and even with 50 days of hardship, if proved effective. The results to date suggest that the hardship was unnecessary and caused by poor planning and bad execution. The black money has not been trapped, as promised. The rich and powerful have been untouched by DeMo of NaMo. People have lost jobs, economy has slowed down, small businesses and informal sector have been hit the hardest and some lives have been lost. So what was the point of this bold and audacious move, if not political eye wash? To top it all, the black money involved in currency transactions represent only 1% of the black money; the other 99% are in foreign accounts being laundered through Mauritius. There is no attempt to trap that monster. I am not convinced of the intention of PM as being champion of common man against the corrupt axis of politicians, bureaucrats and business. This seems simply a move to try to assure his re-election. BJP may win re-election anyway because there is no effective opposition. This was an exercise in futility.

  • January 10, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    It is well known this is a war. It appears that the demonetisation battle has been won. But other battles also have to be won if the war against corrupt is to be won. We cannot be bystanders in this war. Like any war good people also will suffer. But unless we join the war effort with unstinted support during the war we are the ones Rto blame and country will be the looser. I hope in the next battle he confiscates all the disproportionate wealth of all and give a privy purse for a limited time for the culprits to prove their source.

  • January 11, 2017 at 3:21 am

    It is good to see the metamorphosis of the PM to fight corruption. However corruption is no the attack on the ill gains obtained by the unscrupulous many but also the stoppage of the practices that bred this ill gotten wealth such as those involving transactions outside the legal system and tax regime:Special favours, speed money,duplicate accounting books,informal loans and their interest gained etc

  • January 11, 2017 at 10:43 am

    What is the courage of conviction that the author is talking about? How come there is no change in any system in any govt dept in the last 3 years? No Lokpal, no judges, no political reforms, no admin reforms, no electoral reforms, no reduction of tax, no study of root cause for corruption, no simplification of govt working, no elimination of ancient, British rules etc. Is just demonetisation enough to solve all corruption related problems ?

  • January 11, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    A good operation. with fine intent, TOTALLY bungled OZA


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