India; 6 months after demonetisation – Thasni Salim

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The people of India were not aware of the word demonetization earlier.  But now the word is familiar as any other simple word for Indians.  On November 8th  the Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the currencies of 500 and 1000 won’t be valid from the midnight. Let us discuss the situation of post demonetized India after 6 months?

The scientific analysis and the common sense, both reports the situation is becoming worse day by day. The Gross Domestic Production growth for Financial Year (FY) 2016-17 came in at 7.1% from the previous year growth of 8. And further it is to fall down to 6. 1 % in the first quarter of 2017-18. While gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 6.1%, gross value added (GVA) growth – a metric that more economists now favour as it excludes indirect tax collection – slowed even more sharply in the fourth quarter to 5.6%, compared to 6.7% in the third quarter. This statistics is declared by the central government itself.

But the government negate to agree that the demonetization is the prime reason for the growth slow down. “It would be difficult to state whether this [demonetisation-caused slowdown] is causal. All policy decisions by the government have some effect on growth rate. Demonetization is one of them. It is not so straight forward to link third quarter and fourth quarter GDP numbers to demonetization. Other dynamics should be kept in mind too,” Anant the chief statistician said.

The demonetization move was heavily criticized as poorly planned and unfair, and was met with protests, litigation, and strikes.  The government put forward demonetization as a surgical move to fight against black money, counterfeit currencies and benami dealings.  The two currency denominations 500 and 1000 constituted the 86% of the total circulated amount. The government gave 50 days time to exchange the currency notes.  The common man’s days shifted from work place to queues. They had to stand hours in lines to change their nullified currency notes. But neither the reserve bank nor the central government haven’t yet given the details of the nullified currencies.  Do the ministry who always called for digital transactions and cash free currency is arguing that the currency is not counted yet?

India is an agriculture based economy. Due to the currency crisis,  the farmers, especially small and marginal who largely depend on cash to buy seeds, fertilizers and to pay for sowing, borrowing water for irrigation and for other related agriculture equipments remained worst affected and for the reason majority could not complete successful cropping. The farmers of Tamilnadu organised in Jantar mantir in Delhi with living mices and skulls. They have held live mice in their mouths, shaved half their heads, worn women’s traditional saris, made wounds in their hands and rolled bare-bodied on boiling hot road on street and conducted mock funerals.

The protests spread across India and the farmers of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamilnadu protest for a vivid solution for their financial crisis. This year marked a record production in agricultural sector.  But the farmers are unable to repay their loans or purchase enough seeds for cultivation or manure.  

The Indian villagers mainly depend on currency than digital transactions. The demonetization made the lives of common people more miserable. The state of Maharashtra reports highest number of farmer suicides between 2014 and 2015. Between 2014 and 2015, the State witnesses an 18 per cent hike in the suicide rate; from 2,568 to 3,030.

It is to be noted that on the day of third anniversary celebration of Modi government, five farmers were shot dead, by the police in Madhya Pradesh. But unfortunately, even the national media gave no attention to the news since they were busy discussing the ban of beef slaughter.  This should be doubted for a conspiracy.  The BJP government is keen over managing allegations against them. They have well managed press for the promotion of the Government.

Why the government want media to discuss about beef which is purely a sangh parivar agenda? There may be three reasons, one the government wish to hide the the slow down of financial growth in the nation over the Gujarat model development which the Prime Minister used to fuss about. Secondly, the beef slaughter controversy would veil the death of farmers in the agrarian protests in Madhya Pradesh. Thirdly, they can purposefully avoid the chances to discuss the government’s inability to control the gow rakshaks who attack minorities and Muslims. 

Tail piece: The month of July the Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Israel, and become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. The change in non alliance movement by extending hand towards Israel and recently grown friendship with America are building tensions in the minds of minority Muslims.  Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu had declared many actions directly against Muslims and it creates much insecurities in their minds.  Arrest of Dalit leader, Chandrasekhar Ravan and death of many Muslims in the name of cow creates discontent in the minds of people. Not in my name campaign and Muslim lives matter hash tags circulates fast among dissatisfied youth.

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