What demonetisation can teach you about killing a rat

So where is the cash that we were told was being used by anti-India forces to fund terror and other destabilisation operations in the country?

 |  3-minute read |   10-12-2016
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If a rat irritatingly nibbles in some dark corner of your living room, how do you deal with it? Knowing that there are some rats that even cats can’t scare, what are the options that you have? Do you set a trap for the rat or bring in canons and blast the entire room?

It’s been more than a month since Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the grand demonetisation announcement following which 86 per cent of the currency in circulation was declared illegal in one single stroke. It was nothing less than a canon shot. Cracks in the "room" have started showing, but it will take some time to assess the enormity of the actual damage that has been caused. But the critical part is that even the rat has gone missing. There is simply no trace.

90 to 95 per cent of the total value of the 500 and 1,000 notes that were declared illegal on November 8 are on their way back into the banking system through the 50-day exchange and deposit window that was provided. This estimate is based on the amount received by banks till now and if there is further rise in deposits during the last days of the promised 50-day period of "inconvenience", as is expected, chances are that the figures may see a spike.

So where is the cash that we were told was being used by anti-India forces to fund terror and other destabilisation operations in the country?

690ap-money-samall_1_121016103706.jpg The income tax department may unearth a few crores here and there, but this would not even be fraction of the total cost incurred during the entire exercise - a staggering Rs 1.28 lakh crore.  Credit: AP

Where is the cash that was supposedly stashed under mattresses? What happened to those secret rooms where cash was stacked? Was it all imaginary or has it made its way in to the Indian banking system already?

Do our national and regional parties hold no cash? Or has that money too found its way into the banking system?

All these questions still loom large after what was being hailed as the surgical strike on black money.

The income tax department may unearth a few crores here and there, but this would not even be fraction of the total cost incurred during the entire exercise - a staggering Rs 1.28 lakh crore.  

And now to the damage signals that have already started showing. Bharitiya Majdoor Sangh president Baij Nath Rai has accepted that there have been 20 lakh job cuts in the past few years while the Modi government in its two and a half years of office have created just 1.35 lakh jobs. Rai has attempted a balancing act by putting part of the lay-off blame on the previous UPA government, but that is understandable. He heads an outfit affiliated to the RSS.

Words like retrenchment, lay-offs and downsizing have come back to haunt. Handloom and handicraft factories have shut down, the automobile sector has downsized its production targets significantly, the packaging sector too has taken a huge hit and also there is huge murmur about over 40 per cent retrenchments in leading media organisations.

It will take some time for everything to come back to normal even after the cash flow is restored to normalcy. The government is no mood to take back its decision. Social media trends and reports from the ground suggest people still support the move announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his endeavour to unearth black money.

But the million dollar question remains: Where is the rat?

Writer

Hemender Sharma Hemender Sharma @delayedjab

A chance reporter, reporting for India Today, Aaj Tak.

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