Demonetisation has given many of us a new platform for mud-slinging; nobody is talking about its achievements. In my opinion, there have been many direct and indirect benefits that no one is really talking about. Let me list a few.
1) Bank employees have worked hard over weekends and have earned substantial compensations towards overtime contributing to GDP.
2) We created work opportunities for currency designers, currency printing workers, security guards, economists, pollsters, journalists .... The list is quite long
3) There are some Indians who do not prefer to pay taxes in India and prefer to stack their incomes outside India; Swiss Banks or otherwise. We could achieve total protection to them through demonetization. This achievement is so remarkable that now there is likely to be a great rush abroad for opening accounts there.
Our ancient belief that "the only golden investment is investment in gold" was powerfully reinforced by demonetisation. Long live Indian wisdom!
4) Why not ask for agent's commission to Swiss, etc. banks for bringing in numerous new account holders in a short span of time? This is an innovative idea for the government of India to earn quick foreign exchange.
5) The ₹1000 and ₹500 in black money languishing with traders, doctors, lawyers, educational institute managements got converted into the new ₹2000 notes, achieving "nano-isation' of locker space; we are going to save a lot of steel!
6) The "change agents" got gainfully employed when they earned 20% to 37% commission from black marketers. Now economists can discuss threadbare whether this commission money is black or white?
7) But at the same time, the brilliant brains of chartered accountants and income tax consultants will have to be paid to show the incomes of these change agents as legitimate. After all, this daredevil action of demonetisation cannot allow this commission money in ₹2000 notes to be accumulated as black money!
8) Rural Indians enjoyed the bygone era of barter exchange and the modern phenomenon of commodity exchange at the same time.
9) Farmers had on-the-job training on how to deal with calamities occurring due to "extraneous" circumstances.
10) Our ancient belief that "the only golden investment is investment in gold" was powerfully reinforced by demonetisation. Long live Indian wisdom!
11) Many sections of society, even those with traditionally conflicting interests (like farmers and dalals, auto rickshaw drivers and passengers) were seen for the first time in history sharing similar problems and grief. Another indirect benefit—communal harmony.
12) We made the common citizen realise the importance of opening a bank account, and more importantly, of saving his/her daily wages in white and not in black. Such shock treatment is required to be given in the country like ours; else people refuse to learn.
13) We further honed the people-tricking skills of politicians and the media.
14) The greatest achievement was the boost to the PM's image as a "doer". Yes, he is a doer, who can and will do what he wants, when he wants and the way he wants.
15) All the political parties got a lesson in behavioural science—how should the party leadership take complete responsibility of the electoral win and how party cadres should respond.
It is said that news about the note ban was selectively given to BJP leaders beforehand. Now, as a result, significant numbers of BJP candidates have the new currency for elections and candidates from other parties don't have it. "It is sooo smart a move," say ecstatic BJP cadre members. Creative party politics zindabad!
If Dawood gets a heart attack, then another surgical strike and one more feather to add to PM Modi's cap.
16) We learned how to give "tit for tat" answers; the skill was lacking, you know. For example, I received a viral cartoon that showed two long queues, one in front of a bank and the other before a court. One person from the bank queue angrily complains about waiting in line for four hours! The person from the other queue retorts, "I am here for 20 years waiting for justice at the court, have patience brother."
17) The intention was to create panic among terrorists and currency counterfeiters. Mind you, we tried everything else too—liaisoning with the USA, frequent hand-shakes with Middle East, even a personal friendship with Pakistan—but nothing was working. Now the currency mafia and terrorists might remain at least a little less operational—at least till the time they print and start operating in our new currency. Demonetisation helped us in buying time to think of alternative actions.
18) I heard that Dawood is actively looking for ace international financial consultants to get out of this situation with minimum damage; consultants are quoting very high fees. If Dawood gets a heart attack, then another surgical strike and one more feather to add to PM Modi's cap.