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India Needed The 'Danda' Of Demonetisation To Emerge As A Superpower

17/11/2016 12:29 PM IST | Updated 21/11/2016 10:03 AM IST
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Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A man showing notes of ₹500 as people rushed to petrol pump to use their notes of ₹500 and ₹1,000 on 8 November 2016 in Bhopal, India. (Photo by Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Demonetisation has suddenly pole-vaulted from an economist's lexicon of jargon to the common person's everyday vocabulary. Everyone seems to be bothered about it, talking about it, and holding a strong opinion on it. It appears that the "demon" stationed inside this word has come alive and is kicking concepts, emotions, relationships, loyalties, politics and everything else that comes in its way.

"Sabka saath, sabka vikas" suddenly transcends mere slogan-mongering and has become a chant to topple the economic evils plaguing the country.

The announcement of the two denominations of ₹500 and ₹1,000 being banned from legal transactions has left a lot of people in India and elsewhere in a daze. From comparing the move to "kadak chai" with the potential of causing ulcers to proclaiming that black money helped India tide over the global recession of 2008, politicians have laid bare the jittery state they are in. It isn't just Amarinder Singh and Akhilesh Yadav, of course — even Kapil Sibal echoed the tremors that are being felt when he literally tried to bulldoze the government demanding "sufficient time for preparedness". The opposition may go hoarse calling demonetisation "economic anarchy", but the truth is that there are no riots on the streets, no buses are being burned, there are no "rasta roko" and "rail roko" demonstrations, there is no violence, and no visible opposition by the common citizen anywhere. I'm sure this is going to not only help clean the blackened slate of the economy, but also bring us one step closer to having a stable bureaucracy and a responsible polity.

Even the 150 so-called "eminent citizens" who have expressed their unhappiness at this sudden development are being viewed as having some sort of nervousness at accepting a new order. Whether they like it or not, India is certainly poised to step out of the black market muck that it has been wading in for years.

Yes, there are long queues. Yes, the inconvenience is obvious. Yes, difficulties are experienced. But surrounding all this brouhaha is the fact that this isn't the last of the radical changes that we should expect from Prime Minister Modi. "Sabka saath, sabka vikas (together with all, progress for all)" suddenly transcends mere slogan-mongering and has become a chant to topple the economic evils plaguing the country.

Fourteen trillion rupees need to be injected into active circulation ... and the speed of implementation so far has been slow. Traders and the business community need to understand that a cashless economy isn't something to be shunned and that plastic money and digital transactions are the need of the hour. Stable and acceptable GST norms have to be reinforced. Business ethics need to be force-fed.

India deserved this "danda" as without it there would never have been even a possibility of emerging as a power that can aspire to be a world leader.

Force-fed? Yes, revolutionary transitions aren't easy to adopt, nurture and nourish. There will always be large segments forever cribbing and whining and maybe resorting to underhand methods to be heard. There will be CMs spewing their helplessness. There will be CMs marching up and down Raisina Hill, raising slogans that have the potential to stall this progression. There are election motives that may need to be overhauled. There are traditions that will need to be reviewed and restructured.

All I can say at this point is that India deserved this "danda", as without it there would never have been even a possibility of emerging as a power that can aspire to be a world leader.

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