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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday spoke out on demonetisation for the first time after he announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 are no longer legal tenders. And he has given some much-needed clarity on the entire process. He said this is just the beginning and more such moves can be expected in the near future, he also said people will have to face some hardship for at least 50 more days.
The process of depositing the old currency in the banks and withdrawing money from the banks and ATMs has been an ordeal for most of India. The country is literally surviving on pocket change and some have even run out of cash that is still in currency. This is why it was crucial the prime minister himself clarify on the on this crash crunch as a result of one of his most radical reforms since his coming to power.
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The intention is to rid the country of black money and dig out tax defaulters and black money hoarders. However, as 86 per cent of the currency notes in circulation were demonetised it has hit the common man too. With limits put on withdrawals along with mismanagement in the filling of ATMs, the man on the street seems not so happy with the process while he still supports the move. The common population has been put to a test of its patience in the larger interest of the nation. Willingly or unwillingly, they understand the reason behind the sudden implementation of the scheme. They don’t have much of an option at the moment.
Modi said in a statement that the demonetisation process has been on for the last 10 months and his government has been working on curbing black money. The PM said that since his government came to power, it has unearthed at least 1.25 lakh crore of black money and the process will not stop even after December 30 — the last date to deposit the demonetised notes in banks to get the money back in legitimate currency notes.
The demonetisation was announced soon after the window to disclose black money and undisclosed assets closed. So the process had been laid down much earlier. It would have helped if the government had planned out how to ensure a smooth flow of cash back into the system through ATMs. And since the entire exercise was pre-planned there should have been no issue in giving the common man more access to Rs 100 and Rs 50 notes through banks and ATMs.
The PM said the sudden announcement of demonetisation of high denomination banknotes was imperative for the effectiveness of the scheme and accepted any sort of punishment if the public feel he has done anything wrong. Opposition parties have been questioning his move since it was announced and even a national trade union has announced a nationwide strike on Monday in protest of the demonetisation. However, going by economic principles, the process is a net profit move for the government and should help dig out all dirty cash, fish out tax evaders and increase the revenue of the government.
It is clear now that demonetisation of the notes is not the only move that Modi government will implement to dig out dirty money and that people will have to brace themselves more tougher days to come in the ‘national interest’.