Demonetisation: Government must be vigilant over 'first of the month' pressures

It was very moving to hear BJP representative Sambit Patra give his word on behalf of his party that every single drop (sic) of the black money unearthed and sent to banks would be used for the upliftment of the poor.

All Rs 600,000 crores of it and counting.

He scoffed at the idea that it was money that would cover the losses suffered by the banks in their massive and ‘lost’ loans to corporations in what is now known as the Vijay Mallya syndrome.

I don’t know how this is going to happen and have no clue what the road map is or who will mount surveillance on the upliftment of the poor, but the patience shown by the people does indicate not just an ongoing strength of the national moral fibre but a probably ill expressed but core belief that the Modi initiative is worth believing in.

That something about the attack on the black money brigade is right, good, got to be done.

Demonetisation: Government must be vigilant over first of the month pressures

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Sure, as an exercise it has been flawed with fragments of clumsiness and absurdity, not to mention the shortsightedness reflected in the ATM fiasco make great grounds for accusations against the prime minister and his cohort. Indeed, there is little doubt it could have been better planned and executed — in hindsight, we are all so much cleverer and knowledgeable of how it should have been done. But the shrapnel that we nitpick over does not entirely betray the honesty of the intent.

Yes, every time a new angle rises up the Opposition picks it up and tries to fan the flames but it must say something for the public attitude of forbearance and patience that the flames have not caught. It has kept the faith.

Anti-BJP forces would like to generate rage and turn it into rioting and place the government on the backfoot as the discomfort turns into violence. With Day 50 still a murky distance away, the Opposition can still fondly believe that this patience in the people will wear off and they are probably hoping that financial logjams in the dawning of the new month could ignite the spark.

Delayed salaries, default on EMIs, fines on non-payment of loans and credit cards, a sudden surge for money to kick-start the month and a shortage of cash — all these elements are kindle that is dry and can cause a spike in anger.

But the odds are that despite the efforts to derail the Narendra Modi doctrine of ‘let’s do it’ the line will hold. Somewhere, in some fashion Indians have felt a spasm of sincerity from New Delhi and are prepared to make it their war, too.

He has struck a chord, one that says enough is enough and with every passing day the feeling that things are getting better intensifies.

Within ten days to go for the ‘first of the month’ pressures to build it would make sense for the authorities to be a little more vigilant. After all if it is everyone’s war then EMIs can be delayed without a fine by federal fiat, a fifteen day freeze by property dealers, car and motorcycle salespeople and especially banks and their loans and their credit card bouquet of charges even if there is a one day delay in payment. Rents can be put on hold, credit can be extended and a sense of community can prevail.

Why should anyone be exempt? These institutions are as Indian and should also do their bit, be it the bans, business enterprises or brokers in the property business. There will be so much relief for people at various levels if they get this sort of a breather even as more money is funneled into the public coffers and the queues reduce.

Don’t mess up the month end priorities and give the matchstick a chance to flare.

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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2016 13:51:59 IST

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