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 The Government repealed Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes making them in the Prime Minister’s words, ‘pieces of paper’.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.
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.
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.
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.
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 In January 1946, Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000 banknotes were withdrawn.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.
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.
Manish Tewari – “It’s whimsical and akin to transferring capital from Delhi to Daulatabad by Md Bin TUGHLAQ”#ModiFightsCorruption
— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) November 9, 2016
When the world was tuned into a course changing US election, this news was shared by the Modi government.
With America counts votes, and India counts notes, I don’t want to get out of bed today …
— Mariellen Ward (@Breathedreamgo) November 9, 2016
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.
— Pooja Karle (@pkarle) November 9, 2016
— Neha Dixit (@nehadixit123) November 9, 2016
— Rita Banerji (@Rita_Banerji) November 8, 2016
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.
Dr. Modi given injection to India. The pain will be temporary. Disease will be cured #ModiFightsCorruption@@narendramodi
— Arvind Patil (@avpatils) November 9, 2016
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