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Answering some skeptics who think demonetisation is of no use

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A Soul in Exile. A Kashmiri Pandit Refugee in India. Tech wage slave in Bangalore. News freak in general.

Is it a “Wow Modi” or a “Mad Modi”  move – A Rs 14,000,000,000,000 question?

The nation is divided, there is no denying that. No, I am not referring to the divide deep in the middle in America over Trump’s election. Modi’s Surgical Strike on Black Money has had the same effect as well. Approximately 14 lakh crore worth of 500/1000 rupee notes are being demonetised, and the nation is divided.

On one side are those who support Modi on this

They believe… (ok.. ok.. I can’t pose as if I am neutral). We believe, that this is a master-stroke, a death knell for black money hoarders, tax-evaders, terror funding, drug mafia, hawala, fake currency networks, tax-evasion in property/wholesale/bullion markets, corruption in every govt office around you and a huge strike on deep-pocket-elections.

Many had been suggesting this. Some were expectant that Modi would do it, after Modi heard ArthaKranti for 2 hours, when the meeting was scheduled for 15 mins only. We acknowledge that there will be inconveniences for next few weeks. But we believe that the impact is huge, and worth the pain in short-term. Actually, far more worth.

And maybe, some of us are over-rationalising the benefits, under-estimating the losses, over-simplifying the pain caused, over-estimating the change – Just being bhakts.

On the other side are the skeptics, naysayers, and many others…

Political leaders and their followers who must endemically oppose anything Modi does because their supreme leader says so, apart – this side includes a range of common people too.

People impacted because they have black money (yes, real common middle class people – that uncle who ‘sold his flat in Delhi last year, half in cash’ kind), traders/businessmen who deal in cash only and maintain alternate books for cash dealings, the corrupt babus, that lawyer/broker/consultant/doctor who wanted payment in cash only… I have no sympathies for any of them, even though – mind you, a good chunk of them (esp traders) are Modi voters.

This side also includes a significantly mass of honest people – massively displeased with the inconvenience caused. Long queues at banks, many ATMs not operational even after 3 days, cash in hand limited, events planned that need cash. Genuine situations that a common man doesn’t want to be hassled over are becoming a pain.

To such people I say, “Sorry! Inconvenience is no doubt regrettable. Just please bear with it for the sake of nation building…” – just what the PM himself said.

And then, there’s is a segment which is largely confused. Again, genuine well meaning, honest tax paying people – but skeptical of this whole change. Skepticism mostly seeded by an activist media. They have many doubts, objections, concerns… like…

But what about black money in gold & real estate?

When Modi formed SIT and started going after the Swiss bank cases (since all that’s in court now & not in news… doesn’t mean its not underway) – the retort used to be, “Swiss banks are a sham. Most of black money is inside India itself. What about that?” Now that its being targeted, the goalposts are being shifted.

To paraphrase the classic Amitabh Bacchan line: “Jao pehle usska black money lekar aao jisne gold mein rakha hai, real estate mein rakha hai… fhir cash walo ko pakadne ki koshish karo!”

Should there be no action taken by traffic cops on under-age or unlicensed drivers, just because there are still drunken drivers around?

The corrupt would stash their loot in all of them – Cash, gold, real estate. If the cash is detected in this strike, natural sniffing will follow for the rest (unless they just burn those money bags). Anyways – in a scenario of tightening of black cash economy, that gold or real estate is also going to feel a pinch. How does a corrupt babu now encash that benami property – if it cant be an easy all-cash deal?

But where is the black-money? I don’t see anyone with money-sacks in those queues!

You are right. So are Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal.

Today the queues are teeming with hardworking honest common man. The moneybags are missing.
And thats the whole idea of this exercise.

The evaders are now facing a death-risk dilemma. Rip-open those concealed chambers and deposit those bundles with banks, lose heavily in penalties and risk deeper investigation where even their ill-gotten gold/real-estate may come into view. Or bite the bullet & just burn the cash and hope nothing further comes along.

Isn’t that still a win for you as an honest Indian?

But a one-time action is pointless!

Possible. For now, just look at this as a one-time purge. And given the gigantic estimates of black money, this is a massive reboot. Purge at all levels. Think of every-time you felt a pang of disgust, when you saw news of raid on corrupt revenue officer, police honcho, PWD engineer, that IAS babu & his clerk – revealing atrocious amounts of stash. All those ugly piles across the country will be neutralised. Not to mention the ones you never heard of. Even for a one time result – that is a big win.

For IT coders – think of it as a bug-blitz for now. Your code has accumulated 100’s of defects. Customers are hurting. You aren’t able to catch up. A weekend or month long bug-blitz inconveniences all the engineers. You still do it – even though you know it is not the end of it all. More will follow in future.

Why this purge? Stop black-money at generation point itself.

Till Hogwarts starts shipping “Magic-wands for governance reforms”, we will have to have some patience…

Demonetisation is just one step in a longer chain of actions. For decades, there have been loopholes abound. Overhaul takes some time and effort. Process has begun. From Jan-dhan to DBT to more steps in GST, and a clear push for cash-less economy.

For other steps, stay tuned. Its just intermission yet – “picture abhi baaki hai, dost”. If Modi is ready to willingly antagonise his traditional voter base in trading community – either he is politically suicidal or has a bigger longer grander vision for India ahead.

But why inconvenience the common man? Directly catch those who have black money!

Again, Agree with inconvenience. Wish there were indeed GPS chips (just like that rumour) that could directly zero in on the corrupt tax evaders.

Govt, RBI and above all the banking staff across all banks is working tireless to ensure smooth implementation and minimise inconvenience. Approx 8-9 crores of footfalls have been serviced in first 2.5 days already across all banks. Yes, there are still queues at the banks. Just bear with it for a few more days.

Think of it just like the inconvenience we face at airports, railway stations and other places – when we go through security checks. To catch that one potential terrorist – tens of millions of genuine peace loving passengers bear with some inconvenience across the world everyday.

Or just think of it as little penance for our bad karma too. After all, we all have at some time enabled this menace – that bribe we paid at the property registration office, that gold you bought without bill…

But I am an honest tax payer? What’s my incentive here!

The biggest incentive for the honest tax payers today is – blissful sleep and a big smile at the thought that s/he has nothing to worry about.

Haven’t you been always angry that a minuscule minority in India pays direct income tax? That the big neighboured grocer, that friendly consultant, the contractor who did your house… all of whom earn handsomely well – but don’t pay any taxes, because they only deal in Cash all the time.

Now, when they deposit their cash – they will get scrutinised. No, they need not be all evaders. But you grudged them nevertheless. They may still not be taxed if exemptions/benefits allow – but scrutinised for sure.

(and if you can trust my instinct on this, stay tuned for tax cuts for you – but not before Budget 2018)

But my maid/driver don’t have a bank account! How will they manage?

When Modi launched Jan-Dhan Yojna, wish you had paid attention to PM’s appeal to the educated urban citizens to help their less privileged workers & guide them to open bank accounts, get insured.

More than 25 crore Jan-dhan accounts have been opened in under 2 years. Assuming an average family size of 5, it bought a humongous chunk of Indian citizens under banking network at an amazing speed. Every single MNREGA worker today is paid through their bank accounts. More than 19 crore of them have RuPay cards. Close to 10crore Life Insurance policies created.

Wish you had prodded your maid/driver too. But don’t worry, its never too late. Please guide them now.

But, whats the point? Those with black money will convert their 500/1000s to the new Rs 2000 notes now! Big deal, now they can store/transfer it more easily.

This one confuses most.

First, to convert anything to 2000 note, the existing 500/1000s need to return to the banking system. There is no way for someone with say 50 lakhs of cash hidden in 500/1000’s to convert it without working it through a bank. And once it hits bank, IT scrutiny follows. That’s the basics of this purge.

Yes, black money created in future can be stored in new 2000’s notes. But in future, 500/2000 notes are going to be in much limited supply, as per RBI – unlike the 87% share 500/1000’s have today.

Come on, there are lots of tricks for them to convert. People are finding workarounds to bypass banks. Those with black money will escape!

You may be right. We Indians can be quite innovative at it. No one in govt would have thought that the 72 hour railway/airline ticket exemption could also be abused to launder money. That sure was shockingly quick innovation. Evil minds are fast. But it became known and plugged pretty fast.

That’s where we as honest citizens must do our bit. If you hear of a new trick, new laundering technique – report it. Finance Ministry and RBI has helplines running 24×7 at 022-22602201/022-22602944.

Non-sense. None of this is going to work. This is a crazy Tughlaqi plan. This is Financial Emergency! Draconian Action! Undemocratic! Everything he does has been crazy, always! Modi is MAD!!!

Only Time will tell. Maybe you are right.

And if you are, people will punish him for it in 2019.

Even then, think of it. This inconvenience is a small price to pay for the mass awareness you are getting within days across India about his madness. Imagine the amount of effort, speeches, rallies & campaigns, advertisements opposition would have needed to explain it otherwise to whole of India.

And here Modi is facilitating it himself, with a political suicide. Why stop him?

Sit back and relax…. You may have won 2019 already.

(UPDATE: part-2 of this article has been published)

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A Soul in Exile. A Kashmiri Pandit Refugee in India. Tech wage slave in Bangalore. News freak in general.
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