It is the common people who are victims of demonetisation, Malayalam writer A Sethumadhavan, better known by his pen name Sethu, said. “The move to nail black money hoarders has been without adequate proof and those who have been affected are the common people,” said Sethu, the former chairman of South Indian Bank.
“I am not against demonetisation. Cashless society is a wonderful dream. Digitalisation has to be implemented, but this is not something which should be done under coercion. In a village centric community like ours, it can only be done after building awareness,” Sethu said in an opinion piece in Malayala Manorama on Friday. “Adequate stock of paper and ink has to be organised to print the required currency. And this has to be done before Pakistan does it,” he said.
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Sethu also questions the rationale of the Rs 2000 note. “There are no high value notes in the developed world. Then what is the role of the Rs 2000 note? It is easy to hoard it.”
“Rs 500 is the back bone of the market. Without touching Rs 500, only Rs 1000 should have been withdrawn and new notes of Rs 200 and Rs 300 introduced. Rs 500 could have been withdrawn later. This could have been done by giving a notice or even without it,” the former banker said.
Sethu stepped down as the chairman of the National Book Trust (NBT) in February 2015. The noted writer resigned six months before his tenure was to end, following “hints that the government wanted to bring in somebody else”. NBT, an autonomous body under the HRD Ministry, appointed Baldev Sharma, the former editor of RSS mouthpiece “Panchjanya” soon after Sethu stepped down.
Sethu’s remarks comes days after celebrated Malayalam writer and Jnanpith awardee MT Vasudevan Nair criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation during the launch of a book on Tuesday. Soon after, the state unit of the BJP questioned the writer’s locus standi to comment on the issue. “Nair reacted on the issue without realising the facts. If writer Sethu (who has also been chairman of a bank) had commented on the issue, it makes sense,” BJP General Secretary A N Radhakrishnan said on Wednesday.