Every time I feel I want to hug the Prime Minister for lugging $30 billion into the treasury in the first fourteen days of his turning big money into ruddi (garbage), someone rains on my parade.
I was sitting next to an economist on a plane, and he said that the Rs 2,000 note expedites the new black money surge by cutting the time to replenish it by half. By sheer volume, goes his argument, it will amass that much faster so what we should have done was bring out the Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes in the same size and different colour.
Look at the people in the queues, he said, they are not millionaires there, just staff being ordered to stand in line divvying up the spoils of the wealthy.
Money exchange companies are not giving out foreign exchange remittances, they are sitting on the money.
The Rs 2,000 note doesn’t work (because the colour runs) and no one is taking it at the common person’s level because no one has suitable change. Then he bites into a biscuit and says this whole thing has been done to infuse saline into ailing banks and raise their liquidity.
All this money they are putting into the banks will now be given as loans to the creamy rich so that the fiscal enslavement of the common man is guaranteed for another generation. The top ten loan takers have taken more than what’s come in and they are not standing in line.
That’s the beauty of it, he says, the people are grateful and they are running around like mice with their tails cut shoving money into the bank and getting nothing for it. But they don’t realise they are the targets, the next step will be very easy loans even for them on very harsh interest rates. Trap, trap, entrap, are you with me?
Am I? Are we? Everyone is making sense of some sort and every theory is bed-rocked in a kind of twisted logic and what has happened is most of us are so thoroughly confused we have lost track of what is good, bad or ugly.
I try to defend it all by saying the world has acknowledged it as the feat of a maestro, a stroke of genius.
He nods wisely. Why wouldn’t they, he smiles wryly like he is talking to a money moron (which he is) you think the US, Russia and China want us to be a superpower? No way. If this was such a stroke of genius they would have criticized it, they will praise it to the skies, it is a fiscal oligarchy, we will stay poor as a nation and finally point 5 percent of Indians will own 95 percent of the economy.
Tell me, he says, which western media organ praises India unless they wish to push us into the abyss?
He is now on a roll. Says, people are being hired to open accounts under Rs 2.5 lakhs, many of them are ignorant, illiterate, sent by dispatch, but they will feed the banks their master’s money through proxy because legally there is no stereotype, no line in the sand, you cannot be stopped because that would be racist and casteist and against our Constitution. The poorest of the poor can have a bank balance of that sum and it all adds up.
You could hire a whole village, truck in people from the slums, so much saved. As for the ATMs don’t be naïve, no government is so foolish they did not think of recalibrating the mahcines for a change in the size, it is part of the plan, don’t you see, you cannot withdraw from the machines so it is all controlled. You could take out Rs 25,000 a day now it is gone, more money to stack up the bank coffers.
But you cannot deny that people have thrown sacks of money into rubbish bins, I said, holding my valiant own.
He laughs the laugh of the learned and said, that is all the counterfeit stuff, who would throw away their notes regardless of how much they have, show me anyone who has flung even one note into the garbage, it is against human nature.
As we go into descent he says, the bankers are falling over with glee imagine nearly every Indian with lakhs in his account, no tax, just fields of green, lush clover to give to the big boys for loans they never return, it is the game of the century.
Yes, but we have sucker punched the gangs, the racketeers, blocked funding to terrorists, stopped hawala and hundi, come on, the underground mafia is in upheaval.
He agrees and then spoils it all by saying, by 30 December they will have made their arrangements.
We part with a sigh of regret from my side but I truly don’t get it. It has become so that you don’t know who to believe or which theory to run with. The moment I convince myself that the right thing has been done for the right reason and I feel that a warm embrace is warranted someone sends a message or writes an email or prints an indepth article dissing the whole thing.
The latest is that brokers have stepped in and become middlemen…just received one of those pass on messages. You have to pay them to jump the queue and they are taking Rs 1,000 notes. Another friend writes and says he ‘bought’ five Rs 100 denomination notes for Rs 600 using a Rs 500 note.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The more things change the more they stay the same.