- Nonetheless, the roughly 50-day deadline for depositing old notes allowed the government time to reposition demonetization as a motive for promoting its agenda of bringing black money into the RBI’s exchequer and promoting cashless transactions, which made it more difficult for national banking associations to trigger protests against this failed motive.
- The PM’s announcement that the notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 were invalid after 8 pm on 8th November 2017 was actually to be done by the RBI Governor. This was in addition to banks remaining closed for the next day paralyzing the country even more! Imagine the pain of the bankers when they found out what they had to deal with when the banks would reopen and there was no official circular for this massive decision. Many bankers lost their lives in this process due to excessively long working hours and depression due to the pressures of exchanging high-value notes and checking fake notes in the same process.
- The bankers will not forget the RBI’s failure to pay the bankers for these extra hours worked so that this drive could span out as quickly as possible (it still took bankers across the country until mid-March 2017 to complete the drive since money from NRIs and foreigners was still allowed to be exchanged until then. Most banks are still in possession of old notes because the RBI is still counting the notes they have! A clear case of good intent, bad management.
- The drive was mislabeled as demonetization by the ever-so-knowledgeable Indian media. It was actually re-monetization of the Indian economy with new notes being exchanged immediately by the banks and post offices in lieu of old invalidated currency. This blatant error by the media caused even more pain to the bankers because of the panic that ensued outside ATMs and bank branches outside the country; everyone wanted to get rid of old notes as soon as possible. This wouldn’t have happened if they were told what ‘re-monetization actually’ is.
The political motive behind this attempt
Petty politics is the one thing that hit the bankers the most! One day, Rahul Gandhi showed up at the Parliament Street branch of a bank to get his share of Rs. 4000 per week that was allowed to be withdrawn by the Central Government. Bankers had a tough time handling the crowd frenzy when RaGa tried to rile them up! In another incident, many leaders of the opposition staged dharnas at bank branches across the country to protest this drive. This not only led to minor lathi charge by the police on hapless common people, but also stalled money exchange on such banks for days.
Many bankers are also to blame! A lot of senior bankers were caught (and still being caught) for trying to exchange notes illegally (more than the government-mandated limit) by handing over preferred people the new currency in larger stocks and ignoring the massive queues outside their banks.
The main reason why demonetization was announced on November 8th, 2016 is somehow attributed to the fact that after November 15th, 2016, many media houses and political parties would have started to release the performance reports on the Prime Minister’s 2 ½ year journey in office. Experts believe that to sidestep this onslaught, the BJP haphazardly announced demonetization to enhance its report card.
You would be shocked to know that the newly-announced notes were still printing during that time; yes, the nation was still printing new notes when the demonetization fiasco was announced. Who suffered the most? Bankers! Bankers didn’t have a clue about this since the last demonetization was done more than 30 years ago and the current workforce is comprised mostly of millennials. There was no proper training given to them for handling such a massive event that is now in India’s history books.
To be true, whatever that period was, India is slowly forgetting it. Narendra Modi’s performance as Prime Minister is regarded as much better than other Prime Ministers of India. This is why he is still in power. However, he has to stop taking split-second decisions. The fake notes are still being printed because the new notes are still not secure enough to stop counterfeiting. India should have got plastic, tamper-proof notes during demonetization, but that didn’t happen. The government is now planning to introduce Rs. 10 plastic notes in a pilot plan spanning 5 cities in India.
Yes, we are curbing down on hawala transactions, benami properties, fictitious gold purchases, and fictitious loan allotments, but all this could have been circumvented without announcing demonetization. Don’t forget that many new notes have been introduced in India with the Mahatma Gandhi New Series and the previous Mahatma Gandhi Series, but the older ones have still not been demonetized, for example, older notes of 100, 50, 20, 10 and so on. They are being slowly brought into the system on their own just like notes that didn’t have the year of printing on them, remember?
If only the government would sit up and listen to the suggestions of the public. We are educated enough to handle this country’s issues on our own, but we elect crorepatis to represent us! Maybe, we aren’t educated enough!