Demonetisation can ultimately prove game-changer
Widespread criticism over surgical strikes has potential of impacting the credibility of our armed force. Politicians should desist from issuing such statements which demoralize the courage and valour of our trusted forces. Having said so, it is imperative not to publicise army operations like surgical strikes for deriving political mileage. Let actions speak louder than words. The nation is proud of its armed forces. History stands testimony how 95,000 Pakistan soldiers, led by General Niazi, surrendered before Lt. Gen. Jagjeet Singh Arora in 1971. The armed forces have demonstrated their valour during 1965 and 71 wars with the Pakistan. Surgical strikes were carried out earlier also. But the country’s leadership was never ever questioned. Dr. Farooq Abdullah on many occasions during his tenure as Chief Minister had asked the Centre to attack the terrorist camps in PoK. Such strategies are always formulated by the Army, with the approval of the Centre.
India witnessed another surgical strike after the PoK strike, which was not however carried out by the Army but Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On 8th November 2016, he announced demonetization and rendered Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes invalid for a variety of good reasons. Such measures are always part of the government to curb the menace of corruption and black-money, circulation of which has reportedly increased manifold in recent times. It is also felt that demonetization will help control inflation which in turn would encourage a reduction in bank interest rates. Moreover, such measures would prove as deterrent to terror acts and stone pelting incidents in Kashmir, as Pakistan through its intelligence agency ISI is pumping huge funds via Hawala channels to the Valley. , some stone pelters used to get Rs. 500 and Rs1000 fake currency notes from separatists and ISI for stone pelting. But with the demonetization, stone pelters are seen nowhere. People in the valley have understood the game plan of separatists and ISI agents. Now, there are no hartals or strikes. Schools and markets remain open and people in the valley are inching towards normal life. Demonetization of currency will definitely help in checking terror funding. No doubt, demonetization is a decisive war against black money and corruption.
Prime Minister’s decision on demonetization is bold but its implementation has caused inconvenience to the general public which resulted in unrest. Long queues before ATM’s and bank counters reflect the extent of inconvenience, even after three weeks in various parts of the country. Poor and middle class including salaried class people in whose accounts money have been deposited but still they are facing hardships in withdrawing their own hard earned money in order to meet their daily requirements. All sections of society, especially the middle and low class income groups, are facing inconveniences and hardships in one or the other way. There should have been proper and required planning and preparedness before announcing this revolutionary measure. The government has has miserably failed on the implementation front. Before taking the decision of demonetization, the government ought to have ensured adequate arrangements of new currency in all the banks and ATM’s across the country to avoid inconvenience to the people on account of cash crunch. Surgeon of this strike, Narendra Modi has failed to bring out black money from the corrupt political leaders. No serious attempt has either been made to bring back the black-money from banks outside the country as promised in BJPs election manifesto. No doubt, intentions of our the Prime Minister are good but he should have kept in mind before taking such a decision, as the number of persons posessing black-money in billions and trillions is less than the general public who belong to middle, poor and below poverty level segments of society. These inconveniences and hardships to the masses should have been kept in mind before demonetization because they certainly do count as voters who actually form the governments in states and at the Centre. Opposition parties may take political mileage and raise hue and cry as the move has not only affected the general public but also the politicians and political parties which have amassed huge black-money for the election purposes. As per media reports certain illegal transactions have come to the light while exchanging old currency. In other words this sincere move of demonetization by PM Modi has also resulted in breeding/grooming corruption.
The hurried decision on demonetization may affect the future of the present government because people are still facing inconveniences by way of standing long queues as a result of which several persons have died. The step has almost caused public unrest. Let us hope that this step will help in checking corruption, black money and eradicating poverty from the country. The decision will be considered as a game changer, if we achieve the goal of eradicating the poverty. The criticism by the opposition should not be for the sake of criticism. Rather critics should cooperate with the government and help in devising ways and means to ease out the problems of people. Modi’s economic surgical strike would be welcomed in the long run if it helps in checking corruption. But the question will always haunt public mind why such decisions and measures are taken only when elections are round the corner.
(The writer is a former Director Information Deptt. J&K Govt.)