Taking from the poor
This is a wonderful piece that explains the situation well
(“Demonetisation is a permanent transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich”). If we believe that the money recovered will be in prime minister’s welfare fund for the poor, then there is some hope for social programmes. But it is only a hope till this is actually done.
A third of India’s children under the age of three are undernourished, which is a national shame. This is because they are poor and lack food, are hungry and lack health care, and are not adequately breastfed.
The prime minister should prove his point by increasing spending on such sectors. Another critical thing PM could do from this fund is to pay at least minimum wages if not full salary to all its community workers who are custodians of India’s health care systems and government should end poverty among more than 3.5 million women workers . There could be many more examples.
This way some wealth could be redistributed. – Arun Gupta
This is an informative article but seems to have been written after seeing a lot of pain of the common people.
But don’t you think we should be questioning all the intellectuals who have not mobilised these very same people enrol for Aadhar or open bank accounts? – RK
This is a well-written and enlightening article. I hope the propaganda being spread in favour of the move can be countered by educative and informative articles like these. – Sahiba Sikand
The deplorable fact is that most sophisticated economists with access to newest gadgets are jumping for a cashless economy, oblivious to fact that a significant chunk of our population, especially rural, has no access to a bank, let alone an ATM or the internet.
Merely vouching for cashless transactions and supportive arguments such as the rooting out black money and curbs on terrorist financing reflect their corporate mindset and capitalist psychology.
Unless these economists are countered, the true pros and cons cannot be projected. Since these economists have a wider access to media and corporate apparatus, their views are being projected and propaganda of these views is leading to false mobilisation if opinion.
The true picture of suffering due to withdrawal of currency by government is being suppressed by overwhelming projection of biased opinion. – Sheshu Kilambi
The effect is apparent but why is the mainstream media showing queues of only the elite in front of ATMs in urban and metropolitan cities, who endorse the regime’s misadventure? The prime minister has practically admitted that the real target of this move was money hoarded by parties and not black money as a whole. Let economists not waste their valuable time in analysing the issue. It is pure and simple politics! – Ramakrishnan Sundaram
I fail to understand your argument. I deposited Rs 60,000 in old currency in the bank and immediately made a fixed deposit. It remains my money only. The government is not usurping legal money from anyone – it is temporarily restricting cash flow and trying very hard to get people to adopt electronic methods. So how is the money of the poor is getting transferred to the rich? Yes, if there is some unaccounted-for money, which is either is deposited in the bank or does not turn up at the bank’s counter, that money is “lost” and RBI can do anything with it.
I fail to understand how, so long as your money remains your money, and you are free to use it in anyway, how does this become a loot, as Manmohan Singh called it? If government confiscates money for which tax has not been paid, does it amount to “loot”? Yes, it will appear as “loot” to that person whose money government confiscates, but, to common man and law-abiding tax payers, it will appear as the enforcement of law, which was long overdue. – NC Datta
This is a stupid statement and only Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes have been banned. Do you mean the menial workers have huge money in these currency notes? This is just a ridiculous statement and I have not faced any problem getting change for an auto or a bus ride. – Baburaj
Pot and kettle
Why not suggest an alternative instead of only criticising (“When Manmohan Singh can credibly complain about ‘organised loot’, you know things are bad”). Not a single constructive suggestion has been put forward by the opposition. There are pros and cons to any reform. They should be measured and compared to make a reasonable analysis. – Sarita Jaishankar
Manmohan Singh has called the demonetisation an “organised loot”, but he has not explained how. He may also tell the people of this country what the 2G, Coalgate, Adarsh and commonwealth games scams were. Shame on him for talking now when he kept quiet when we needed him to speak. – Lakshminarayanan Iyer
Dr Singh’s estimate of the GDP decline is sound. Micro and small industries are already in distress and shutting down, retail trade, despite surge in the use of plastic money, has declined and will decline further due to fear psychosis in the minds of the middle class, construction will come to a halt and only outsourced IT may grow due to weakening of the rupee. Agriculture too will decline. – Hiro Bhojwani
It is unfortunate that a great soul like Narendra Modi is the prime minister of a country where votes can be bought through pseudo secularism and plundered loots. For a man who was prime minister during the most corrupt era in Indian history, and who, facilitated by incompetence, allowed the country to be looted of hundreds of billions of dollars to accuse Modi of loot is such an irony.
All looters, black money holders, hawala operators and terror financiers are inventing ways to turn their black money white using benamis, that is why the arrangements are failing. If people put their cash holdings into accounts and withdraw the allowed limit there will be no issue. If the move was supported by responsible politicians, people would have transacted patiently. But vested interests and opposition parties have created panic as they are all concerned as they have are concerned about their billions.
Media has actively provided fuel to the fire as they are beneficiaries of this loot. Actually, an emergency should have been declared before this implementation. This cancer of corruption is deep rooted and surgery is the only way. – TKP Nair
This article on school education in Tamil Nadu reflects the ground reality (Tamil Nadu’s schools are in crisis (but nobody is talking about it)”). However, I am keeping my hopes up that one day children will be given quality education by the government and the media, one of the pillars of democracy, will fight for that. – Srinivasan Ramalingam
The urban myth that CBSE is the best of all boards has to end. The purpose of schooling is to develop an interest and inclination towards acquiring knowledge. Boards are meant only to certify students for very few skills, which are mostly outdated and have no relevance to real life. No board is better than any other and no board teaches values that are of primordial importance. – Karthik
It’s pathetic situation for the students even now. They have to mug up answers and a teacher evaluates students within set parameters. The child is restricted from learning. Educationists need to address this problem and help students and state’s education system. – Madhav S
Tamil Nadu has adopted an education policy that prevents their children from gaining a competitive edge. Populism and false sense of protectionism has brought down the standards of education and it will require sustained and serious efforts to raise them once again. – TL Kumar
Wealth of information
I do understand that the discourse on being rich is condescending, to say the least, but I regard your article incomplete as it fails to put the issue in a historical perspective (“Do wealthy Indians feel guilty about being rich?”).
I advise you to watch Noam Chomsky’s A Requeim for the American Dream, for, though it traces the American history of neoliberalism, it also brings to fore something that is universal – a systematic glorification of wealth. I understand that some do still frown upon crass display of wealth, but I contend that s because of the moral feeling of empathy that has come to be rooted in our culture and the liberal thought as a whole.
Your article displays how that moral duty towards fellow members of our society, like I mentioned, has been systematically driven out. I also understand that there are condescending people from the lower sections of the society and intelligentsia who do exactly what you’ve tried to point out, but that’s how it is. Foucault could come as some help to you on this. – S Saai Sudarshan
It is appalling that in reviews you are revealing important plot details (“Film review: JK Rowling casts the right spell in ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’”). The Fantastic Beasts… review reveals the main twist of the movie. This is highly irresponsible journalism. – Sagar Patel
Movers and shakers
The demonetisation does not aim to eliminate black money alone (“A flawed policy: The real problem with demonetisation is not just in implementation”). That requires a multi-pronged attack and whole-hearted support from all players.
But the circulation of large counterfeit notes, its cause and detrimental effect are substantial. A little disruptive change can induce mass revolution and we gradually, seamlessly move to cashless trade/payment mode.
We Indians adapt to change quickly. The infrastructure to move to cashless transactions is already in place and doing so will bring costs down and benefit the economy.
Real estate is the kingpin of black money generation and the fall in property rates is an indicator of the positive result of this move.
The war against black money is mighty real and ongoing and we should not relent on this initiative. There is a sea-change in telecommunications and well built infrastructure that can be tapped into for delivering financial services and reduce cash transactions to the bare minimum.
Freedom of speech does not mean always criticising. In a small religious town in Gujarat the bank manager was standing outside the bank, announcing to the public to be calm, quiet and assuring them that everyone would get many. Local good samaritans offered food, drunks and set up a shamiana to protect them from the scorching heat – it was like a celebration not melee.
Some businesses may have seen reduced footfalls, but there is hope of a better future. They should be acquainted with alternative modes of transactions. The government can offer the poor loans at very low rates of interest, based on the trade turnover, reflected by cashless routing and the intention of Aadhar and Jan Dhan Yojana can be translated into action
The demonetisation was well-timed with the post-Diwali fever. Let it light hopes of an economic revolution. – Seetha
This is very sad and horrifying (“Navi Mumbai: 10-month-old baby brutally assaulted on first day at playschool”). I am not going to send my kid to any day care henceforth. In this incident, the owner seems to be as responsible as the caretaker who assaulted the child in that she should have conducted stringent background checks on her employees, trained them and warned them of the consequences of such actions. I had faced a similar situation at a day care in Thane, which charged Rs 7,000 per month. My wife eventually had to quit her job to look after our kid at home. One loses trust – can we take chances when it comes to our children? – Chandan
Your review is reasonably well written as most things on Scroll.in are, but suffers from the infirmity that afflicts most Indian reviews – an avoidable pomposity of a know-it-all and interminable length (“Film review: ‘Dear Zindagi’ finds Alia Bhatt at the top of her game as a woman with a restless heart”). Reviews do not dictate a moviegoer’s decision to see or not see a movie so it is better that it be written with wit and humour. Unless of course the subject of the movie is so lugubrious and portentous that persiflage would seem sacrilege. – Narendra Nair
These are not students, they are murderers (“As medical students stab and burn a monkey in Vellore, activists demand stricter animal welfare laws”). Allowing them to continue their education and letting them lose on an unsuspecting public is unpardonable. They should be immediately rusticated and sent to jail. College is not the place for murderers, prison is. – MR Satyanarayana
Tale of two countries
This article articulates all that I have been feeling over the last couple of years (“Preparing for the Trump era: What India’s Modi years can teach the US”). For someone who has believed she grew up in a very open, inclusive, diverse country that celebrated differences, seeing Modi come to power with a coterie of followers and supporters – some of whom were my friends and who now defended him, spoke of economic progress and asked me why I cared when it wouldn’t affect me anyway – was very horrible and shocking.
But, I didn’t feel the effects of the Modi government for the last two years, because I had a new place to call home: New York City. If India was multi-ethnic, multi-religious, secular and liberal, New York was infinitely more so. And then this happened. Donald Trump. What saddens me is the outrage that has been immediately exhibited in New York. They cannot believe it. Times Square has erupted in protests. Everyone I meet has the same shocked expression. The city is quieter, still recovering. Why does it sadden me? Because while I am bolstered by this extreme resistance in the US, I have not yet found it in India, not even among all friends and family.
In a country so far away from home, Scroll.in reaches me as a lone voice clamouring for equality, not dubbing liberalism as a farce or secularism as a futile exercise. I don’t expect to agree with everything that you write, in fact, I would be alarmed if I did. But as long as I can find a well-written piece of journalism, that is well-researched, incisive and thought-provoking, I will be back for more.
This was a particularly well written piece by Harsh Mander. I’m excited to follow his work! – Aquila