#Demonetisation: lessons and Opportunities in the time of crisis.


After hailing the government initiative, observing the public mood, reading opposition remarks we have tried to assembled our points that we hope should be useful for all in case another surgical strike is planned as and when ever for whatever sector/enemy of the nation..

We will start with the government as it is the one who fired the first salvo. It is obvious that everyone from the man on street to CEO of a company understands this move of the PM and links it to curbing black money circulation. Yet the government is unable to get the type of praise that it merited. That is what should worry it. Therefore there are areas where the government looks unprepared and non professional. This has allowed the media to take pot shots at the government (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/indias-new-strike-against-black-money-backfires/articleshow/55452196.cms ).

and made the poor citizens of the country suffer. No one doubts governments intention, but it could have been executed in a better way. That is what the government needs to ponder and review before it changes its gear after December 2016.

Organizations like NITI AAYOGA could have been roped in for the proper planing and execution even after the declaration. The government has to and must start trusting its own organization and also entrusting them with critical work but also accountability and repercussions if any.

We feel that still there is a lack of coordination among government organizations and the government didn’t foresee the impact clearly. The follow up for such an action required efforts at war footing. Except for the banks we don’t find any such measures at any other level. Yesterday I had been to one of the Indian Coffee house managed by ministry of tourism but had to shell out 3 crisp notes of 100 as there was no card swipe machine at the place.

For one, the government could have issues thousands of card swipe machines. Necessity is the mother of invention. During Asian games the nation saw televison set coming up all over india, during telecom revolution the nation saw lakhs of std booths springing across the nation. This time we could have seen the spread of card swipe machines at all places including kirana stores if only the government saw the opportunity. The ordinary business men still does not trusts swipe machines and people are still charged for using debit cards. Banks are still charging hefty fees for using ATMs all though it saves them cost effectively. All these needs to be looked into.

We would suggest the government needs to meet on a daily basis after such an initiative. A crack team can be formed. Information must be flashed out on the collections in banks and the 500/1000 rupee still out in the open. In fact there are many initiatives that can be taken at this junction but there is no one who can look into it. An opportunity is wasted just because everyone is too busy or occupied or just sitting idle.

Second we need large money dispensers..I am not sure but there should be certainly big machines as there are lot of technical changes happening in this machines (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cutting-edge-cardless-atms-20160130-story.html). The banks could have been asked to install large ATMs at select places and especially in Metros and big cities without raising eye brows

Third Like the Jan Dhan Yojana, the government must now popularise debit cards across the country that will help it to dispense money even at farthest and remotest locations. If the demonetisation was planned six months back, why more ATM machines didnt come up in rural India. SBI and Bank of India which have good rural network branches could have taken the lead here. This is a good opportunity to go for a cash less economy and if nothing else this can be a big outcome of the initiative.

Fourth this initiative could have been also taken as an example in case there is some emergency arising out of war with any of the adversary and God forbid there is heavy destruction all around. What type of planning and facilities would be required to make sure that the country, economy and society keeps moving , such lessons are easily taken from the present crisis. We would request the government to make a committee that will record all the observations and try to suggest some steps for the government which must be immediately applied. Note that there was no software and or computer servers, electricity glitch which could happen in any war like situation. Do we have alternate mechanisms for all such eventualities. Let us try to make the country fool proof from as many directions as possible.

We believe the present demonetisation crisis has offered lot of points to a good observer.

The government was also not able to utilise the services of secondary organizations like NGOs, post offices, government offices etc. Ways and means could have been identified for the extremely poor and the farmers besides rural India. Besides we also have army and BSF for such critikal tasks.

All good initiatives if not carried out and executed rightly can backfire and hamper the government standing in the public.

The opposition must try to learn to praise initiatives that are of national interest and provide constructive opposition. It is difficult to absorb the actions of Mamta Bannerjee and Kejriwal who are not attending their states problems and are staging marches in Delhi. And what is Omar doing in all this. looks like he has lost his interests inJK politics after the surgical strike of Indian army.

We appreciate the questions posed by former finance minister Chidambram and the government must answer all of them sincerely. (http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/demonetisation-old-notes-rs-500-and-1000-rupees-notes-ban-income-tax-taxation-black-money-p-chidambaram-4372284/).

We look for a constructive debate and discussion in the parliament today and days to come.

The citizens of the country are the greatest asset of our country. They understand and they tolerate and the government must be careful and sensitive to not antagonize the true citizens of the country. Exceptions are everywhere. This shows that the people are willing to support any initiatives that strengthens the country. That is why our civilisation has survived million of years.

And the media will also take its lessons for sure if more such events happen in future.

Asheesh Shah
Author: Asheesh Shah

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