There is something terribly wrong with our economy . In our Republic citizens are sovereign. The Government is supposed to conduct economic affairs in their interest . But economic justice is still a far cry in the  country . The privileged continue to flourish at the cost of the masses .  

At present our masses are facing a new crisis.  We all know how they are being harassed in conducting their day-to-day economic activities . The new predicament is due to  our Government’s recent notification demonetizing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.   Ironically, this demonetization has affected little those against whom it is supposed to be directed  – a few mafias having black money .  

Our Supreme Court has done well to decline the government’s plea to stay cases filed against it for  the inconveniences caused to the people on this account .  The Court’s Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur has rightly observed the  people have started feeling desperate for money. They have to brave queues for hours. Cases against such inconveniences are being filed in courts across the country. This  shows how grave the problem really is. 

The Court has said,  “How can we shut our doors to people when there is an issue of such magnitude… They are going to the courts for relief.  …This is very serious. This will require great consideration. People have become frantic, people are affected... There may be riots…”

Our Government must heed the Court’s words of caution and take immediate steps to ease the  citizens’ inconveniences in getting their own money from their banks. The Government’s plea in the Court goes that the estimated black money is around Rs 15-16 lakh crore. The demonetization is likely to lead to the deposit of Rs 10-11 lakh crore in banks. The  rest Rs 4-5 lakh crore is being used in northeast and J&K to fuel trouble therein . The demonetization would have it “neutralised." One finds this plea is not devoid of substance. But it would do little to address the real malaise .

There is a near consensus among economic observers that the currency notes of the demonetized denominations are misused for terror financing. They are also used by some political parties to manage popular support for their various activities. However, the constant need for cash in our system cannot be overlooked .  Almost 90 per cent of our money transactions are done with paper currency .  The demonetized currency notes account for more than 85 per cent of the value of cash in circulation.  Money in these denominations is now being increasingly dispensed by the bank ATMs . The sudden unavailability of cash has hence thrown the life of common people out of gear.

The consensus goes that the government should have generated enough cash in the system before going in for this demonetization . The Government must really focus on curbing black money .  The bulk of black money lies in off-shore accounts in foreign currencies .  There is huge black money in the real estate sector too.  

The Government must checkmate the terrorist  funds that  flow mainly through electronic transfers . Also, the Government should have been more careful about allowing the conversion of the existing 1000 and 500 currency notes within the prescribed time- limit. Appropriate measures ought to have been taken to prevent any benami conversions.


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