Demonetisation: How international media reported PM Modi’s ‘bold move’

The move to scrap old Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes sent ripples across political circles and the media has been extensively reporting on the issue.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 16, 2016 3:28 pm
demonetisation, narendra modi, demonetisation news, currency news, world media on demonetisation, world media on india, world media on narendra modi, international media on demonetisation Sand artist Sudarshan Pattanaik in Puri, Odisha. PTI photo

Ever since the Modi-led government announced that old Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes would be discontinued, it caused ripples across political circles and the media has been extensively reporting on the issue. There were also reports of Pakistani news anchors discussing the issue and praising PM Modi’s move. The move also managed to catch the attention of foreign media and a substantial chunk of column inches were used to highlight the move.

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Here is a look at how the international media reported it:

The Washington Post

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“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has long made fighting black money a priority — as the country moves to legitimize its shadow economy, change an age-old culture of corruption and attract foreign investment. A voluntary disclosure program has netted $19 billion, a fraction of the estimated $400 billion to more than $1 trillion in black money.”

Sydney Morning Herald

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The step by Modi, who is approaching the half-way mark of his term, is an attempt to fulfil his election promise of curbing tax evasion and recovering illegal income, locally known as black money, stashed overseas. Modi’s unprecedented move follows a similar step taken by the European Central Bank, which is discontinuing the use of 500-euro notes to stop their use in “illicit activities”.

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The Independent

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Government leaders feel that the sudden move by the Indian Prime Minister has brought new found respect for him. A senior Indian government official even equated Mr Modi to Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Mr Modi’s admiration for Mr Lee is of course no secret. When Mr Lee passed away in March last year, Mr Modi in leading the tributes and condolences pouring in from all over India, acknowledged Mr Lee Kuan Yew a “lion among leaders”.

New York Times

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The plan, kept top secret until Mr. Modi’s announcement, was hailed by financial analysts as bold and, potentially, transformational for India. It is also a high-stakes experiment: Though other Indian leaders have withdrawn currency notes, none have reduced the country’s supply of cash so drastically or so abruptly. The two bills being withdrawn make up 80 per cent of the cash in circulation.

Wall Street Journal

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If the reforms work, in theory it could broaden the government’s tax base. And any money that doesn’t get redeemed, the government can reissue and spend as it pleases without increasing the money supply. Indian government bonds, a favorite among emerging-market investors, have rallied since the announcement. That may be a bet the reforms will work. But it could also be a bet that India’s economy is about to slow. It could take Mr. Modi’s plan a while to come together.