The decision to demonetize the high denomination currency notes has sharply divided the national opinion which is not quite unexpected. Such is the political climate today, that if someone takes a stand against cannibalism, there are bound to be people in support of human beings eating other human beings. Obviously, no one has quite lamented, “oh! my precious hoard of treasured currency notes , the result of years of dishonest toil .” They foist some public purpose on to their opposition to the move. The poor, as always, come in handy. It has been alleged that it is they who are bearing the brunt. They are indeed but bearing with fortitude. I have been wondering whether to enter the debate after many economists and public figures have proclaimed its still birth. But such is the overarching nature of the decision that to remain silent would be a failure of civic responsibility.
I must first make clear what is my understanding of the government decision to outmode the 1000, and 500 notes to curb black money.
I think it is just one measure in a complex array of such measures to be taken up in future.
I do not think that this step will end black money for ever and we will live happily ever after.
It is obvious that this measure will impact only the money hoarded in form of currency notes but its cascading effect would be felt only after a while.
For the impact of any decision to be felt takes time and such drastic measure causes large-scale upheaval. As usual the poor are the worst collateral damage.
It also shows which of the travails of the poor are worth taking notice by political class and which best ignored.
More than an economic measure I think it is a reminder to our society of the debauched state of our financial system and its universal reach has led people to join the discourse on public morality. Everyone feels compelled to take a stand. Those who have the hoarded cash and their outspoken supporters must now become a matter of public knowledge.
The poor are at the centre stage no matter which way you look at it .Those that are condemning it and those who are approving it are doing it in the name of the poor.(378)
*Manoje Nath, IPS retired as DG Homeguards, Bihar has vast experience of investigating financial crimes. The Patna High Court asked him to investigate several important cases during his tenure .Among many other important cases, it asked him to investigate counterfeit currency cases and directed the government to create a special cell to be placed under him for curbing this menace.