To the surprise of the country men, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization of Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- high value currency notes.
This unexpected move created considerable confusion and anxiety among the people immediately, as they have never undergone such experience in the past. Immediately after the announcement at 8 p.m. in the evening, crowds started queuing before 0.2 million ATMs all over India. However, the ATMs had to be closed as the old currency had to be removed before being replaced with the new ones. Further, the ATMS have to be calibrated to meet the requirement of new notes.
As the banks were closed the next day, and the ATMS too remained closed, there was panic all around. Some people even started suspecting whether all their money would be lost.
Mr.Modi explained to the people through television media that demonetization was necessary to wipe away the black money and fake currency circulating in the country and eliminate the corruption once for all.
Many people really thought that this exercise would be completed in 3 to 4 days and normalcy would return thereafter. But, the normalcy has not yet returned even after 8 days, though the situation has been gradually improving.
Mr. Modi and his Finance Minister and officials have been reassuring the country repeatedly that the situation would become normal soon and have appealed to the people to put up with the discomfiture for few days for the sake of ensuring a corruption free India.
Overall reaction of common man favorable
The Common man, despite of some reservations as to why they were made to suffer when they are not the black money holders, seem to have reacted more favorably, appreciating the need for eliminating black money and punish the corrupt persons.
As a matter of fact, people belonging to lower and middle income group, who have been suffering enormously due to prevalence of corruption at all levels of government machinery and even in educational institutions and hospitals have been hoping that Mr.Modi would put down the generation of black money and ensure elimination of corruption with great force. Mr.Modi’s demonetization campaign and his explanation about the need for it have largely received positive response from the people.
Vicious campaign of the vested interests
However, the opposition political parties who seem to have developed pledged hatred towards Mr. Modi, called his demonetization strategy as ill conceived, lacking in clarity and forward planning and termed it as costly exercise that India cannot afford.
With 20 percent of the money in circulation in the country being black money and most of such black money being with politicians and business houses and traders, it is no surprise to see the manner in which the opposition parties have denounced Mr. Modi’s demonetization drive.
While the government announced several restrictive measures to ensure that the black money would not be converted into white, the black money holders have tried to circumvent the regulatory measures of the government in a variety of ways, which forced the government to impose even more restrictions. Though such restrictions were aimed at black money holders, common men too have suffered in the process.
Exploiting the situation, attempts are being made to to kill the initiatives of the government by whipping public anger against the move by clever propaganda, by the vested interests, which seem to have been considerably supported by the print and television media. Day after day, debates have been taking place and photographs of the people standing in queue have been publicized with mischievous headlines and sidelines.
Understanding the mood of the people, opposition parties and vested interests have been saying that they support the move to eliminate black money, but not the strategy adopted by Modi government that resulted in suffering for the people. Obviously, their aim is to weaken the resolve of the Modi government to eliminate black money, as the politicians and the business houses and traders would be the worst affected.
Some media and politicians have been irresponsibly stating that civic unrest would take place in India and law and order would become unmanageable due to the so-called public anger of the people.
Mr. Modi’s resolve will take him through
As Mr Modi has now taken a decision to fight against the black money holders and cannot look back, the Modi government is now facing a great challenge. The government cannot afford to allow a situation to develop, where the demonetization drive would end half way or fail to yield the type of positive results that are targeted.
The opposition politicians and the black money holders are likely to become increasingly aggressive and use variety of methods through media to spread an impression among the people that Modi government has failed.
As Mr.Modi is now taking an aggressive stand, fear is now haunting the black money holders that he will not spare them and the law will take its course soon.
Despite such stress , Mr. Modi appears to be determined to take the fight against black money to the logical end at any cost. While meeting the need to implement his strategies competently with well designed process, Mr.Modi has to take the people along with him even as the opposition parties and vested interests would strive their best to derail the demonetization drive.
Mr. Modi is bound to succeed in his efforts as the cause is genuine and people want his efforts to eliminate black money and corruption succeed. While the demonetization drive reflects Mr. Modi’s commitment to the cause, his strength of character and determination will take him through.