A month after attack in PoK, India carried out another ‘surgical strike’, this time on its own soil. Demonetising Rs 500 and R 1000 notes from the economy without anybody having inkling is certainly a surgical strike. While the surgical strike in PoK on September 29 did not direct affect on most Indians, the impact of the latter is immense in the country. Unlike the PoK attack, nobody is asking proof of the ‘strike’ this time! It’s so evident and the motive clear.
The Modi government has been a stronger campaigner against black money than any governments in the past. The Rs 1000 note was first demonetised by the then Janata Party government in 1978, but very few people would be having that note then. The masses were not impacted by withdrawal of that currency note. On the other hand, even the poorest man is not unlikely to possess Rs 500 or Rs 1000 note nowadays. Withdrawing these notes is certainly a very very bold decision. It even might come at the cost of BJP’s political fortunes in the next UP assembly elections, which would perhaps decide Modi’s fate in 2019.
The Prime Minister said in his televised address to the nation after 8 pm on November 8 that the decision might cause inconveniences to the public and that they should bear it for a greater cause. The skeptics need to be reminded again and again about the objective of the move, to prevent them from ranting the ‘sufferings’ of common people. If people behave maturely and smartly, the banks and ATMs need not see such long queues. Let the initial days be given to only those who need money urgently. There is still time till December 30. And if the queues remain till then, the government might consider extending the date further. The worries are for only the black money hoarders. This is a unique situation of a poor person having reason to be happy!
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on November 11, 2016)