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The 500 Rupee repeal is More Complex Than You Think. Here’s Why!

Posted: November 9, 2016
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A surprise move in which the PM yesterday announced the demonetizing of currency notes of denominations 500 and 1000 has social media in a flutter.

Yesterday night India threw a surprise party and the world and Indians themselves were surprised. The Government repealed  Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes making them in the Prime Minister’s words, ‘pieces of paper’.

This move is historic and surely it will have its effects on black money hoarders and counterfeiters which should be applauded but it will surely also affect large masses of this cash led economy.

Some concerns being discussed on social media

Other than hoarders of black money, the people who it will definitely affect are small businesses who deal in cash (roadside vendors, etc), farmers, women in the informal sector, daily wage earners and the one demographic which is largely not taken into consideration which are homemakers who save from their monthly domestic budget and squirrel away the money for contingencies, etc.

Reality in India also is that there are enough men who don’t give their womenfolk access to bank accounts, credit cards, etc.

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Image source: here

Jokes and memes on social media

There are also jokes and memes that are floating around and the speed with which they have been created is amusing. They of course relay the panic that people feel. It could also be that salaried India which has moved away from cash dependency is least affected by this decision.

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Some of these jokes are definitely in poor taste but do shine a light on matters that affect women in India. Rural women are said to be possibly the worst affected as their access to digital media is just around 2 % and they also have limited access to identification, bank accounts, etc.

 

History repeating itself

However this is not the first time that the Indian government has demonetized money. According to Livemint, “It has been done at least twice in India’s history in the past time. This time, the attempt is to crack down on black money. In January 1946, Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000 banknotes were withdrawn. In 1954, Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes were reintroduced and were again demonetized in January 1978.”

However these decisions took place before 1990 when Indian economics was not this complex.

A change heralded?

The people who are digital savvy might not be as affected. This is also a land mark move for mobile banking. Banks have already sent emails indicating the new promotions of how easy it to transfer mobile. Tweets with the hashtag #PayTMKaro have also been shared since last night when the announcement was made.

People who are on the road in remote places across India would face issues while making purchases or even for transportation. This very bold but possibly short sighted move by the government has had people applauding as well as criticizing the decision.

In the meanwhile, on Twitter

 

When the world was tuned into a course changing US election, this news was shared by the Modi government.

This was definitely a move that came as a surprise to banks and other financial agencies as well. What effects this will have we will only see as the days unfold.

Going ahead

How the government will execute this very bold move against black money will be crucial as panic is definitely a given in the next few days. This move has evoked mixed feelings across India and on social media. Here is to hoping that all goes well and India does fight the double sword of  black money and politics.

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Anju Jayaram

Anju Jayaram

A traveler at heart and a writer by chance a vital part of a vibrant team called Women's Web. I Head Marketing at Women's Web.in and am always evolving new ways in which to build this community and our brand. I write about the stories that move me and the ideas that I believe in. I love cupcakes and dislike the tsunami of good morning messages that fill up my social media!


Author's Blog: http://travelingnoodles.com

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