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Open letter to fellow Aam Aadmi over Black Money

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

Dear “Real” Aam Aadmi,

So, you got your first Rs 2000 note! Good.

And you have completed the rituals too:
Selfie with new currency – done.
Voting on the Namo App – done.
Water test, crush test, colour test – done.
Adjusting spending plans – done.
Expressing support via petitions/Facebook/twitter – done.
Heated discussions about Media myths and FAQs – done.
Debates on political reactions, #IamWithGovt hashtags – done.
Fwding whatsapp jokes about demonization – done.

What next?

Is this the end of the revolution? Does this complete the ‘big change’? Does the surgical strike on black-money end here? Does our role end with that hashtag/petition and a patient wait at the ATM?

It would be fallacious to believe that a chronic epidemic like Black Money, which our systems and society has nurtured for decades, would get wiped out by a single surgical strike. Even the govt does not claim that demonetisation of Rs500/1000 will prevent future creation of black money. Demonetisation just a one time purge, but not the end-solution.

And total annihilation of black-money can not be achieved by a PM, a cabinet or its government.

We all – in some form – have played a role in the creation of black money. And therefore, we all must – in some form – play a conscious role in its annihilation hereon.

War against Black Money needs to a mass movement. The malaise is so well entrenched – there are no easy battles in this war.

But here are some steps – not easy – that you can take:

Tough – Change yourself!

A push towards cash-less economy is deemed as one big therapy required for controlling this malaise. But, for a nation as big and diverse as India, going completely ‘cash-less’ may be a pipe-dream, decades away.

‘Less-Cash’ economy may be a more reasonable goal to aspire for in the near-term. If cash in circulation can be brought down from the current Rs 18 lakh crore to say just Rs 3-4 lakh crores, that less cash to stash away as well.

We all need to change and adapt to newer means of digital economy. It is tough. Any change is!

Start with yourself. Avoid use of cash as much as possible. Use cheques. Cheques are too cumbersome, use credit/debitcards. Don’t like taking credit, use your own account via net-banking. Not always online, use UPI or other e-wallets.

Sounds alien? Its simple… read about UPI here and here

Tougher – Be a messenger of change!

But a transaction takes two to tango. Even if you and your friends catch this digital buzz, it can’t go far. That’s why the tougher step is to be a change agent. Encourage, cajole or demand – your vendors and others in eco-system to adopt it too.

Coach and teach, wherever needed. Your maid, driver/car-washer, press-wala, dhobi, gardener, local grocer, tea-stall or paanwala outside office, anyone.

If they have a bank account, when you pay by UPI, they get paid instantaneously into their account. If they don’t have an account, help create one first.

Naysayers will smirk at the thought – Poor can’t afford it, Poor don’t understand it. Poor can’t use it.

Poor may be unaware. But, poor are NOT stupid.  OLA/Uber drivers learnt using Google navigation much before many around you. If your maid can use Whatsapp, she sure can learn this as well. Educate.

And smartphones aren’t a mandatory requirement, though most urban poor around you have one already. (Read here –how to transfer money without a smartphone)

Options are many. Its important to engage. Mass engage. Each one teach one… Adoption can be rapid.

And if you are an optimistic – you can believe in this change. Its not impossible. See this story of Akodara village in Gujarat. They accomplished it in just three months.

Toughest – Live the change!

None of us can adopt a ‘holier than thou’ stand. We have all enabled creation of black money in our past, often unwillingly. And sometimes, consciously acting naive, just for a convenience or a saving.

A bribe at the traffic signal, a purchase made without a proper receipt to save on taxes, cash payment to some vendors to avoid VAT/ST, under-valued property registrations… We have been a cog in the wheel quite often.

Making a pledge to yourself.

No bribe.
No cash payments to avoid tax.
No ‘kaccha receipt purchases’.
No off-record deals.
No under-valuation.
No chalta hai!

Easier said than done… the toughest battle to wage.

The bottom line is – it is our turn now.

Stop cribbing, complaining and expecting that some alien Jokepal or a new law will bring the revolution. We are the revolution. Take that first step. Now!

“Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota. Iss’e perfect banana padta hai”

And if we don’t wage this battle now, black money hoards will be back before much you can say ‘demonetisation’ again.

My 2 anna worth…
(yes,… I know! anna’s got demonetised long ago. They just work in this “me too got an opinion” economy)

– A Soul In Exile

PS: *Sigh* Spent several hours writing this last night. Left it pending for a final review before submission. And just now, I read text of PM’s “Mann’ ki Baat”. He made this article redundant with just one speech of his.
Grrrrrr…… Modi is anti-blogger. Modi must resign 🙂

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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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