The Real Aim of Demonetisation was to Kill the Informal Economy,
Rest of the Claims were Just Lies and Jumlas
Press Conference on Five Years of Demonetisation
12th November 2021, Press Club of India, New Delhi
Financial Accountability Network India
“If they needed to fight black money, it needed to fight corruption. But in fact they have systematically demolished the institutions that could combat corruption”, said Prashant Bushan in a Press Conference organized by the Financial Accountability Network India (FAN India) on the 12th of November on the Five years since Demonetisation. This Press Conference and public meeting was organized as a conclusion of the week long Five Years of Demonetisation Campaign. It was to revisit and evaluate the consequences of the wholly avoidable tragedy of demonetisation, its shifting goalposts, and the permanent damage it has caused to the Indian people, the economy and the body politic itself. DeMo was the curtain raiser to whimsy policy and governance through spectacle, of grand announcements and catastrophic, of ‘shock and awe’ decision-making, and headlines management that characterises autocratic governments the world over.
“Working class depend largely on cash. Women stash away a little bit of money year by year as personal savings. All of them were thrown into utter disarray and panic. But days after Modi was smiling on the front pages of newspapers with PayTm thanking him. It was clear for whom demonetization was done,” said Anjali Bhardwaj of Satark Nagarik Sangathan who was awarded the International Anti Corruption Champions Award by the US administration earlier this year.
“Since demonetization the government has promoted cashless economy. This is nothing but a ploy to destroy small businesses and give space to big corporations. And in that way, they actually succeeded in their real mission. We must take the slogan of votebandi against this party in response to their notebandi,” said Mohit Valecha of the National Hawker’s Federation.
“The domestic workers were affected in the worst possible way overnight. They depended entirely on cash. They had to stand in line for their own money. Women lost their stashed away personal savings. Was that black money?” asked Anita Kapoor of the Shahri Mahila Kamgar Union.
In the week long campaign, National Domestic workers Union, National Cyclist Union, National Hawkers Federation, Shaheri Mahila Kaamgaar Union, Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee, hAdivasi Adhikar Manch, CPI(ML), AIPWA, AISA, AITUC, Coastal land right movement, MM Thomas Liberary and Research Centre, Dynamic Action, Nagai District Fisherwomen Federation, Karaikal District Fisherwomen Federation organisations organised protests actions, public meetings in Tiruvalla, Trivandrum (Kerala), Nagapattinam, Karaikal (Tamil Nadu), Gautampuri, Sarojini NagarMarket, Islampur, Shastri nagar, Jamma Masjid, Sangam Vihar and Saket in Delhi , in markets of Palwal and Hathin in Haryana, Ranchi (Jharkhand), Udham Nagar (Uttrakhand). A series of interviews with prominent economists, members of civil society and union leaders were taken that peeled the many layers of claims around notebandi that were made five years back. These videos confronted those claims with facts baring the reality. A series of articles has also been put together that are being published in a series over the anniversary week of demonetisation.
In the Press Conference Prof. Arun Kumar explained how each of the claims of the government were nothing but lies. “The idea behind notebandi”, he said, “was that cash itself is black. But cash is only a miniscule portion of the black economy. That is why 99% of the cash was back in the banks in no time.” He said that the claim around counterfeit currency was bogus as by the govt’s admission it was just 0.02% of the cash. For that one need not have demonetized 86% of the cash. The resultant cash shortage he said was debilitating for the economy. Cash, he said, is like the blood in the body of the economy which is essential for circulation and generation of income. It was like taking the blood out of the economy.
Prashant Bhushan and Anjali Bhardwaj said that while on the one hand the government claims to fight black money, but on the other hand has allowed for anonymous political funding through electoral bond. Anjali Bhardwaj said that through this “they opened the floodgates of anonymous funding in political parties. We are standing in lines in polling booths not knowing who funds the party and for whom it will work. Electoral bonds have become the easiest way to convert black money to white. All of this was pointed out by the RBI. But to no avail.”
What is clear now is that the government has lied to us again and again making big claims and bigger promises, but all along its real intent was to decimate small business making the lives of ordinary people more precarious while making way for complete corporate takeover said Priya Dharshini of the Financial Accountability Network, India. “Now it is upto us to decide if we want to be fooled time and again, or whether we should call out the foul and protest.”
FAN India is a network of civil society organisations, unions, people’s movements and concerned citizens to raise the issues of accountability and transparency and economic and financial policies that have an impact on the people.
For more information, please contact:
– Priya Dharshini: 9311548645
– Ashish Kajla: 9650164543
Financial Accountability Network India (www.fanindia.net)