Demonetisation effect: Hungry stomachs are making poor seethe to the point of silent revolt

Something is not right? If people are flying into frenzy for their own money then this scheme is no good. The cash-stricken people now are showing signs of revolt. If you are made to stand for 6-8 hours in a line, then you would naturally think like that. And especially when you know you may have to put up with the exhausting line again, soon.

Maybe PM Narendra Modi failed to realise that instead of the black hoarders and money launderers whom he expected to see grouping outside the banks, it would be the innocent economically weaker aam janta who would be actually bearing the brunt of the scheme.

Demonetisation effect: Hungry stomachs are making poor seethe to the point of silent revolt

File image of Narendra Modi. AP

True, the zig-zag queues outside banks premises demonstrate how the demonetisation drive has compelled everyone to participate, but it is making the lives of the 80 percent of our billion people – farmers, rural class and the weaker sections of our society – accustomed to dealing in ready cash, tougher each day. They have been forced to camp outside the banks – some arriving even before sunrise – pointing to their sheer misery. This fear of what will happen if they arrive late in the line and might not get their turn to exchange what little they have of the spiked cash, and God forbid if that happens, how on earth will they feed their family or go about their lives, speaks about the poor functionality and the thoughtlessness of the demonetisation drive from their perspective.

Does the government realise that only these people are falling in line because they do not have any option? If it thinks it has made the rich and the black hoarders stand in queues, then it is plainly mistaken. How many middle class and upper middle class stood in the queues? The government should have the data by now.

While the intention of driving out the black money, counterfeit money is laudable, it has not been backed by a foolproof plan for implementation. Otherwise, our banks would not be declaring out-of-cash status, or ATMs saying Sorry! Machine out of order while the queues to get new currency are becoming longer.

The secrecy aspect of the demonetisation plan needs to be analysed by scrutinizing the ruling party’s bank accounts. Did the BJP minions crowd the banks? Perhaps the Chief Ministers of West Bengal and Delhi – Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal – have a point when they ask, Why is the poor being axed?

And, how did the government facilitate people after the demonetisation scheme came into force on November 9? Many stood in line, young and old, practically the whole day from sunrise to sunset before getting a handful of their own money. They had to repeat the tiresome act day after day for the small amount. In the end, dejection, heart attack, despair, suicide has befallen the unfortunate.

Instead of the black money game coming to an end, we have seen the ending of some innocent lives.

At the moment, the country and its economy have plunged low. Tell me which PM would be respected if innocent lives are lost for such a trivial issue? And that too, not one or two lives but several were gone, and the government could only think of controlling the cash flow -- which fluctuated high and low on the wavering decisions of the government.

Surely the government could have come out with an alternative workable method with regard to the cash exchange and distribution system after the ground realities of the demonetisation drive came to light after the very first day of operation? For any sane person can see that this maddening queue would only lead to disaster, chaos, fights, anger, and wastage of man hours, time and energy.

While we all know that the time has come for the BJP to fulfil its long list of promises made to the nation, yet, political machinations can't be passed off in the garb of well-intentioned schemes. Will the government ever be able to catch the actual black money hoarders? Also, have our banks been able to catch the wilful defaulters whose arrears of loan repayment amount runs in crores?

I would have admired the demonetisation scheme more had the cash-starved class represented by my maid Meera for instance, did not have to stand inhumanely for such long hours trying her luck for two consecutive days, taking leave from work, and being more stressed by the fact that her turn did not come in the queue to get her money. How many more are still waiting to lay their hands on their cash is anyone's guess.

The government's sudden decision changes are also adding to their despair. This can hardly be termed as a small inconvenience. This is one Meera’s story. A thousand Meeras have been standing hungry each day in the hope of feeding their families, praising the intent of the demonetisation idea, but with the government not paying any heed to the likes of them are inwardly seething in silent revolt.

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Updated Date: Nov 19, 2016 14:36:13 IST

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