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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First Published on: November 25, 2016 2:20 pm
  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
              1. 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.
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                  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
                  1. G
                    gc
                    Nov 25, 2016 at 9:31 am
                    In this country if GST can take 15 years to become a law , (while developed countries implemented it 30 years ago), A strong danda is required to get things done. This government has given people two and a half years to get their act together, those who did not know RSS and BJP's core ideology of 'nation first' though everything would be 'normal'. Now the tough action has started, see the fun in next few months,this is resetting the nation.
                    Reply
                    1. H
                      harun
                      Nov 25, 2016 at 12:00 pm
                      The benefit of demonitisation has been lost.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;By shabby implementation and Govt and its advisors not seeing the kind of difficulty which awaits the mes.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The two advantage in the short run is Real Estate will lose 40% of current value.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Gold will become cheaper given the fall in demand and $ gaining in strenght.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Why should the Govt write off loans of defaulters worth 123000 crores of Tax Payer money.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;PM has been successfull in dividing the Nation into the ried Cl which pay taxes and the Poor who look helpless at vulgar display of wealth by the Netas and Businessmen on one side and the rest on the other
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        arvij
                        Nov 25, 2016 at 11:59 am
                        A Congress motormouth has spoken - 2G, CWG, Coalgate Bofor scams after scams . Media industry is full of such useless parasites masquerading as Pundits.
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                          dskygirl
                          Nov 25, 2016 at 9:53 am
                          Any solutions other than what he has done?
                          Reply
                          1. D
                            dskygirl
                            Nov 25, 2016 at 9:57 am
                            I would like AK to swing in the breeze.
                            Reply
                            1. D
                              dskygirl
                              Nov 25, 2016 at 9:52 am
                              What if the corruption is widespread and is deep in all these agencies?
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                              1. D
                                dskygirl
                                Nov 25, 2016 at 9:49 am
                                What is the problem? 70 years of misrule has led to this disgusting mess of a country. How can it be cleaned up in 5 minutes. Modi is not Superman. AND we are all responsible for this mess too, as we kept quiet during all those 70 years of misrule. Along comes a man of enormous courage and guess what? We are so stupid and so cowardly that we cannot recognise the real goods! SHAME ON THIS NATION. WE WANTED THE ITALIAN ALWAYS AND WE STILL DO, because we are COWARDS THAT LOVE THE STATUS QUO.
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                                  madhav
                                  Nov 25, 2016 at 10:54 am
                                  Have you come across a rational comment from a Bhakt. They have only two versions. One is 70 years of misrule and a patriotic approach. Yes, for the sake of argument, many bad things have happened in the past. That is why you got a chance. Now prove yourself and do not cry foul of the past. As far as the question of patriotism, we do not want certificates from you. If standing in queues endlessly is to prove your patriotism, people standing in queues before liquor shops or cinema halls can be treated as more patriotic than all your leaders.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Look back to the history and read the scriptures, which have defined RAJA DHARMA, which you lacks. May God save this country.
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                                    manikantan
                                    Nov 25, 2016 at 9:11 am
                                    Fadnavis is the one whosaid it. Pig Heads
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                                      mathimathi
                                      Nov 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm
                                      feku will be demonetisation in 2019 through votes.
                                      Reply
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                                        Narayan Srikanth
                                        Nov 25, 2016 at 9:52 am
                                        Calling out PM as a psycho is anti national too. He is the elected leader who deserves the respect. AK should be booted for his comment.
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                                          Narayan Srikanth
                                          Nov 25, 2016 at 9:45 am
                                          Hope Modi stays his course and does not buckle. The hoi polloi are with him to eradicate Black money. Forget about all criticism by politicians and media, they can only do that. It is increasingly clear that those who are shouting the loudest are most affected. Jehadidi and Mayawati for a start and then Rahul hi and Sitaram Yechury
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                                            Vernaker Patil
                                            Nov 25, 2016 at 9:22 am
                                            This is all political thamasha.Modi and Shah wants a saffron government in UP at any cost.They need an issue which can help erase public memory of false promises made by Modi for bringing black money from Swiss account.After blaming Congress as a routine, he failed as PM to solve Swiss account agenda.
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