Modi govt can’t just shrug off every criticism of demonetisation

Ever since the demonetisation scheme came into effect, the government has shrugged off every criticism as politically motivated, even calling these voices as anti-national and pro-black money.

Written by Wali Ahmad | Updated: November 25, 2016 2:23 pm
demonetisation, narendra modi, modi news, modi on demonetisation, cash crunch, currency crisis, narendra modi news, Rs 500 note, Rs 1000 note Prime Minister  Narendra Modi. (AP Photo)

“Arrogance of power and arrogance of numbers.” The previous UPA government had got used to these two sharp charges when it was in power between 2004 and 2014, until Narendra Modi sunk them electorally. During the peak of UPA II, BJP, the main opposition party in the Lok Sabha then, had correctly gauged the public angst against the Manmohan Singh government. And the perception that the Congress-led UPA dispensation had cut itself off from the ground realities proved to be correct in the 2014 elections.

In 2016, when the BJP commands a brute majority in Lok Sabha, the Modi government seems to be falling into the same trap. On Thursday, former PM Manmohan Singh highlighted the haphazard manner in which the demonetissation scheme was launched on November 8. He called this a “monumental mismanagement, plunder and loot of public money”. As a member of the Opposition, Singh, however, said he was not against the motives of the current government’s fight against black money.

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But, PM Modi hit back at the Opposition today. “Some people are criticising saying the government did not make ample preparation. I think the issue is not that the government did not make ample preparation. I think the pain of such people is that the government did not give a chance to make any preparation. If these people had got 72 hours to make their preparation then they would have lavished praise that there is no one like Modi,” he charged.

Ever since the demonetisation scheme came into effect, the government has shrugged off every criticism as politically motivated, even calling these voices as anti-national and pro-black money. The recurrent theme ever since demonetisation came into effect has been clearly: “either you are with us or against us”.

The government can’t deny the fact that it faltered in implementing the scheme. There have been a series of flip flops, as evident in the RBI’s ever changing guidelines. People have died waiting in long and serpentine queues to withdraw or exchange their money from banks and ATMs. Business has been hit hard and we are staring at a possible slowdown of the economy. Thought the PM has acknowledged the inconvenience people have faced, there seems to be no end to the misery in the near future.

No one can dispute that fact that rampant corruption has crippled our system. But in a democracy, people can, and must be able to nurture a difference of opinion. It is the life-blood of democracy. And criticism of government’s policy must not make anyone anti-national.

The current government would do well if it keeps its ears to the ground. An app survey can keep the government happy, and the cacophony on social media may give it a high for some time. But then there is another India which speaks every five years. And when a government starts functioning in the echo chamber of “we are always right”, it is clear it’s not bothered to listen to the other voice.

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  1. B
    Barb Dewyre
    Nov 25, 2016 at 11:40 am
    What did you expect from this government? Trying to run a country of 1.25 billion people on 14% of cash flow without any plan? When things don't work out as was to be expected, blame every man and his dog and call them anti-national? Choti buddhi, chote kaam.
    Reply
    1. A
      Anonymous
      Nov 25, 2016 at 12:18 pm
      There is no didvision over 80% support PMs decison .
      Reply
      1. D
        Diplomat
        Nov 25, 2016 at 11:54 am
        No one says that demonetization is bad. Everyone agrees that it will be good in a long run. Problem is lack of planning and implementation. You just can't remove 86% of currency from the economy over night and not expect any large scale implications. If one says that this was planned for 6/7/8 months secretly then it means that implementation is super bad. You just destroy 2% of GDP for emotional reason?
        Reply
        1. D
          dd
          Nov 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm
          IE has rights to go against every move by government but others can't oppose IE. IE has right to black mail people if they don't answer their question...junk reporting...
          Reply
          1. V
            vijaykumar
            Nov 25, 2016 at 9:12 am
            You will have to bear difficulties for the sake of nation. Consider if nation is at war, Are u going count no of days hardship ?
            Reply
            1. G
              G YAGNESWARAN
              Nov 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm
              To show their place the Government after the dust settles down should go for an early election.
              Reply
            2. G
              gc
              Nov 25, 2016 at 10:16 am
              How long people have to suffer? Ask those who have been living with sewage mixed water or no water, no electricity,no healthcare,not enough to eat,curling up in winter at platforms,working in the scorching heat in the month of June at construction sites.ASK THEM.They will tell you that standing in a que for few hours is nothing,even if it just serves as a REVENGE and nothing else against those who looted their money,this is worth it.
              Reply
              1. G
                gc
                Nov 25, 2016 at 11:58 am
                How long people have to suffer? Ask those who have been living with sewage mixed water or no water, no electricity,no healthcare,not enough to eat,curling up in winter at platforms,working in the scorching heat in the month of June at construction sites.ASK THEM.They will tell you that standing in a que for few hours is nothing,even if it just serves as a REVENGE and nothing else against those who looted their money.
                Reply
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