New Delhi. On November 8 a year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unprecedented announcement on the national television. He implemented the demonetisation of currency notes of 500 and 1,000 denominations.
It sent shock waves across the country because the Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes became illegal within few hours of the announcement. Lakhs of people were seen queuing up in front of the banks across the country to replace their old Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes with the new Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 ones. As the banks did not have enough supply of the new notes, it led to chaos at most places. Many people died while waiting in front of the banks.
The BJP has always talked about demonetisation as a historic step to flush out black money from the system. The opposition parties on the other hand have criticised the Modi government for devastating the economy and unleashing untold miseries on poor people, middle class and small businesses.
The raging debate over demonetisation has not stopped even as the decision to demonetise the old Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes completed a year. The BJP observed the anniversary as ‘anti-black money day’, while the Congress termed it as ‘black day’.
Here are seven takeaways from the debate on the anniversary day of note ban.
1. In his tweets Modi described demonetisation as a decisive battle on black money and corruption. “125 crore Indian fought a decisive battle and WON,” he said in a tweet. In another, he said: “I bow to the people of India for steadfastly supporting several measures taken by the government to eradicate black money and corruption.”
2. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi described demonetisation as a “tragedy” and “thoughtless act” causing livelihood loss for millions of honest Indians. “Demonetisation is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians, whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act,” Gandhi tweeted.
3. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad raised eyebrows when he said that prostitution had decreased in the country after demonetisation. On loss of livelihoods due to note ban, Prasad made another controversial statement saying that only unskilled people lost jobs.
4. Actor Prakash Raj described demonetisation as the “biggest blunder of our time”. Taking to Twitter, he said while the rich found ways to convert their black money, millions suffered. He went to the extent of seeking an apology from Modi.
5. An online survey by Economic Times claimed the support for demonetisation had grown over a year. On the contrary, another survey by The New Indian Express in the five southern states found that more respondents thought demonetisation was not a good decision and did not curb black money.
6. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that demonetisation had taken India on the path of a “less cash” economy.
7. The Indian Express carried a story about how a Maharashtra village, which was hailed as India’s first cashless village after demonetisation, was now back to cash transaction.