The DeMon that never spared us

Five years down the line, the demonetisation DeMon continues to hurt

The most foolish. A policy poorly implemented. This is how Shashi Tharoor, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, described Prime Minister Modi’s Demonetisation Policy on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the move that send India scrambling for money for days together.

Hard-earned money turned out to be a commodity that was pushed beyond the access of all those who had toiled for it, when Prime Minister Modi hopped on to television on the night of November 8, 2016, and declared that high-denomination currency notes would cease to be legal tender on an immediate basis.

Though the BJP and those that supported the party called it a surgical strike on the black economy, the hapless citizens of India, mostly breadwinners and housewives who had stored small change that would come of help in times of need, were pushed to a nightmarish situation that night. And, of course, for many months later on.

The demonetisation announcement gave shape to serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs, with people lining up to get hold of new notes in place of the old.

It is common knowledge that economic activity came to stand still, and yet the PM and his people continued to call it a ‘masterstroke’. The fact is that it was indeed a disaster, with many even losing their lives and livelihoods.

The demonetisation DeMon that never spared us

The fall out of an exercise called Demonetisation

PM Modi, as it was explained by the ruling party think tanks and the saffron brigade, executed his ‘masterstroke’ to bring an end to black money. This was because black money was held as high-denomination currency notes. Whatever was the belief, demonetisation was a disaster. History stands testimony to this fact.

Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “On the fifth anniversary of the most foolish, whimsical, ill-conceived & poorly-implemented policy ever devised by an Indian government since the days of Mohammad bin Tughlaq, let us bow our head to its victims.”

Tharoor is just one among the many who have taken to Twitter to slam the demonetisation exercise. Trinankur Bhattacharjee, of the Trinamool Congress, tweeted this:

Five years of Financial #Emergency. Five years of Economic #disaster. We are still suffering today. #Demonetisation #5yrsofdemonetisation. Never forget. Never forgive.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that demonetisation “decimated the informal sector”. He tweeted: “Economy into a tailspin, the poorest hurt. Informal sector decimated. No black money recovered, but rich got richer. Cash in the economy is the highest ever now! This govt must bear responsibility for pushing India downhill, just for one man’s whim #Demon

Masterstroke for PM; Disastrous for the common man

Five years down the line, people still suffer from what many call the after-effects of the ill-conceived demonetisation announcement. The economy continues to be in shambles.

What the government gained by effecting its style of masterstroke on currencies in circulation and the economy, in general, is nobody’s guess. The poor are still affected. Renowned cartoonist Satish Acharya pointed out in his tweet on the first anniversary of the demonetisation exercise, “That night. That decision, which broke the back of the Indian economy. Hope we’ll recover from it soon. #Demonetisation”

Hope, we will recover from it soon! Let’s indeed hope!

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