After demonetisation, now a real test ahead

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Political and economic benefits and the fallout of demonetisation is being discussed everywhere so as its adverse impact of cash crisis on small and medium businesses, labourers, farmers and so on. Loss of jobs in industrial  and other sectors which was already facing recessionary trends has hit the workers as many sectors are taking steps to go slim, downsizing their workforce.
There are many who compare the situation akin to the emergency during Indira Gandhi’s regime, as the newly crafted ‘financial emergency’ has forced people to struggle to withdraw their own hard-earned money from banks. Yet, there are many among the poor, lower middle class and others who hail Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his decision to demonetise currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination.
The quintessential Indian hypocrite is happy in thinking that at least the person, much well off than him, has been robbed of the money which he had amassed. A landless labourer is thinking demonetisation has hit a big farmer, a class four employee thinks that the officer might have lost money, an officer is thinking that a top bureaucrat had lost money and an ordinary person thinks that his well off neighbour is looking gloomy because he might have lost the cash which he had stored in secret lockers. This thinking has a domino effect, a chain reaction spreading across all sections of the society.
The political effect of the demonetisation is almost like the political fallout of Indira Gandhi’s decision to stop Privy Purse, a payment made to the ruling royal or lower families of erstwhile princely states as part of their agreements to first integrate with India in 1947 and later to merge their states in 1949 whereby they lost all ruling rights. The Privy Purse was continued to the royal families until the 26th Amendment in 1971 by which all their privileges and allowances from the Central Government ceased to exist. After a legal battle, it was implemented after two years.  With the stopping of Privy Purse, all the ex-royals were unhappy and their majority “subjects” the common masses and the poor – hailed Indira Gandhi for striking a blow on the supremacy of the ex-royals. This was also one stroke that made Indira Gandhi popular among the poor and the downtrodden.
Modi, despite his attempt to change the narrative to a campaign for less cash society to woo the neo-techno savvy youth by promoting digital transactions, is exactly trying to impress upon the poor rural masses and the lower middle class that demonetisation was a master stroke against corruption, terrorism, Naxalism and so on. In one stroke, Modi has become the only Prime Minister, after Indira Gandhi, to become ‘so popular’ in every nook and corner of the country.
But unlike in 1971, people across the country now have got access to the outside world and are more politically and socially empowered. People believe that Indian economy has been provided with a new lease of life and they want that its benefits should percolate down to the masses in terms of check on price rise, more employment opportunities and more investments for a better quality life both in urban and rural areas. That’s where the real test lies.

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