In a month since demonetisation, various strata of society — including the Supreme Court — have raised questions against the faulty-implementation of the Prime Minister’s move to root out black money, but the most serious indictment has, perhaps, now come from within the ruling government’s larger political family.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliated bodies have raised serious concerns on the ill-preparedness of the implementation of demonetisation exercise and its impact on the lower strata of the society.
The Sangh-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) — the largest central trade union in the country — has said that the labourers, workers and daily wagers have been facing the heat of cash crunch — the foremost impact of demonetisation.
"The question is not about the demonetisation move. It’s a good move no doubt and it’ll take time to get results. But the question is about the after effects of demonetisation, which has caused immense problem for the poor, the labourers, the daily wagers, etc due to cash crunch,” BMS president, Baijnath Rai told Firstpost.
Recently, the government expressed its intention for a cashless economy and offered sops for those going for digital transaction using debit and credit cards and e-wallets.
The BMS feels that given the traditional system of cash payment prevailing in the country, the goal to achieve a cashless economy would take time and isn’t possible overnight.
"Maximum transactions in India are cash-based, especially for the small vendors and those belonging to lower economic strata of the society. Can you pay a rickshaw-puller through a debit card? Can a small vegetable vendor have financial transactions by using plastic cards? No. The poor daily wagers, farm labourers, workers — all of them need cash in hand to run their household. But, due to ill-preparedness, especially at bankers’ end, these people are facing the heat,” he said.
The Sangh affiliates have also intimated their concerns to the government.
"Post-demonetisation, we’ve intimated our concern to the government and discussed issues during a meeting. We’ve also asked the government to develop barter system or commodity exchange system to deal with the ongoing crisis," Rai added.
However, the BMS feels that pain is inevitable while combating a serious ailment – like the black money menace.
"The government never said that there won’t be any problem. The PM has been saying it from day one that there would be some problem. It’s like surgery. There’ll be pain but it will uproot the ailment. Black money menace and corruption have taken deep roots in our society due past political leaderships. We’re sure that the overall impact will be good,” said BMS general secretary, Virjesh Upadhyay, while giving the analogy of medical treatment.
It’s not just the mazdoor sangh, but the other affiliate organisation Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) that had expressed serious concerns a week after demonetisation was announced.
“The people who spend Rs 100-200 in cash and don’t belong to the category of plastic card users are bound to face problem. It’ll take time for the people to get into plastic card transactions. First of all people should have bank accounts. It’s the farm labourers and farmers who have been facing the problem due to shortage of cash. The farmers have to pay farm labourers in cash and if it’s not available, how a labourer will survive?” questioned a senior member of BKS.
“The cash crunch is a short-term problem and in the long-run the effect of demonetisation will be good, but due to the ongoing crisis, people are losing their patience and panic is increasing. It needs to be stopped,” the member pointed out.
Though positive about Modi’s move, the other Sangh-affiliated economic wing Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), feels that preparedness should have been better prior launching of the large-scale operation.
“The problem arising due to cash crunch is a short-term phenomenon, but in the long-term it’ll be beneficial. The Direct Benefit Transfer of subsidies is an example how big leakages could be minimised. Similarly, use of technology will help in achieving the aim of cashless economy, but it’ll take time. Besides being optimistic, we’re equally concerned about the people at the grass root level facing problem due to cash shortage. No one should lose wages due to this. Banks should have been better equipped to handle this crisis,” added SJM co-convener, Ashwini Mahajan.
Updated Date: Dec 11, 2016 10:43:04 IST