Thursday, November 17, 2016

Demonetisation and nation-building - a multifarious exercise

Post the major & bold decision on currency demonetisation, many aspects of governance and nation-building are in sharp focus. In the middle of the inconvenience caused to the masses at the banks and ATMs, there are many other serious points to ponder. I wrote an Editorial Article in Hindi, published recently and excerpted below, the English version of which is here. Do let me know your views. Let the Mahayagna begin.

And don't forget to check out our comprehensive analyses on demonetisation, here!

Jai Hind!

An open letter to the Prime Minister

Hon’ble Modiji,

The country is struggling with many grave challenges, and all true Indians are striving to transform these challenges in to opportunities. I am trying to understand all aspects of this intricate subject of modern nation-building. May I attract your attention to seven issues. Despite all the hardships that the common Indians are facing today, crores of citizens feel that a genuine crucial action seems to have been initiated.

First – Entrepreneurship and nation-building - After your important announcement of November 8, an honest entrepreneur who could only weep in despair, has started feeling a sense of relief.  He was compelled to part with his hard, lawfully earned “white” money to gain his lawful rights, by various government officials who would want payment in black. If one did not oblige, it was impossible to go even one step forward. This meant months of further problems.  It seems that out of fear, this menace can be curbed to an extent. Yes, now possibly the number of job seekers in the government sector is likely to go down because a major attraction for these jobs seems to be evaporating!

Second – Attack on Benami assets - All the necessary steps required to take demonetization to its logical conclusion have already been announced by you – Your next strike would be on Benami property (movable, immovable/tangible/intangible). Excellent! Since these are the best sources of placement of non-cash black money. The innumerable properties that the government will confiscate through these measures need to be utilized for public welfare. This will give the Indian population the opportunity to utilize its   rightful claim. If lavish but illegal benami properties are converted into schools, hospitals and incubation centers for entrepreneurial startups, the difference and impact would be immediately visible. Though it is not easy, but if this happens, it would be the most visible transformation. If creation of benami property is made almost impossible, then only will the public partnership of today become really meaningful in the long run. 

Third – Need for mass training and orientation If the honest Indian businessmen and citizens are not accustomed to cashless transactions, they alone cannot be held responsible for this. The required technical systems and trust, as also the spread and promotion of awareness, has been woefully lacking. Till today all such sectors running on cash have dramatically come to a grinding halt. All sections of the economy who genuinely want to join the mainstream economy need to be helped and encouraged. All government departments, officials and personnel related to revenue  need to be provided with operational training. Public support for demoetization and their trust will be with you, but their daily life needs to be streamlined immediately. 

Fourth – Online portal to curb corruption – Hon’ble Modiji, the common man of India is ready to go along on a righteous path if he is guided properly. Innumerable Indian who are helpless, powerless (except during the elections) and with a low per-capita income want progress. But due to the virus of corruption infecting nearly every aspect of our system, the correct information of various important government programmes and subsidies neither reaches them at the right time nor in the right quantity.This shakes their confidence and faith, and the good people also prefer to remain away from the system. You have made a new beginning by creating many transparent portals (like GARV etc). Then, for a final assault on government corruption, why not make a transparent online portal where any instance of public’s exploitation could be uploaded through a mobile phone, for action? 

Fifth – Election reforms - Time has come to cleanse the pious land which is the fountainhead of all corruption and mafia building. To deal with this sin, a law needs to be made for compulsorily accepting all electoral funding in white, and for government funding of elections. For this to happen, simultaneous elections are necessary, so that all agencies can fully concentrate on one single objective with all their energy and might. This is the right time to bring such law. The entire system could be transformed with simultaneous elections, and the country would be free to concentrate on the real issues and challenges – per capita income, education, social harmony and technological progress – for the remaining four and a half years. This will really help in honest people joining politics, because as of now it becomes impossible for them to fight against money and muscle power. 

Sixth – A suggestion – Since this pious mission of nation-building has started, I have another suggestion to make. There may be some among the huge lot of dishonest people who may have heard a faint knock of their conscience, and may be ready to contribute their ill-gotten wealth for nation-building. Why not create such an account where their entire (100%, without any deduction) money could be deposited, rather than being burnt or destroyed? One single account which could accumulate all such resources?

Seventh – Quality of public services versus Taxation - The honest have been experiencing one more hardship, that of exorbitant rates of taxes but with meager returns. If all the direct and indirect taxes collected at all levels are added, the honest have nothing left in their pockets (this is being rationalized through GST). Even that would have been ok if quality goods and services were available to the public. Bur this does not happen. The final victory of this huge mission (Mahayagna) would be only when millions of new entrants to the white economy become satisfied with the quality of goods and services being provided to them. Otherwise, there is going to be a big discontent. That means, the entire government machinery and systems – police, administration, PDS, Govt. hospitals, Govt. schools, the judiciary – will have to undergo a complete transformation in their quality and functioning.

Sir, thanks again for this big decision! The honest have lost nothing, but have got a new hope. By taking all sections of the society together, and by creating faith in them, this process will get a huge boost and support, which is necessary to make India truly strong in the 21st century and face the massive challenge posed by China. The government has shown its commitment to take the hardest of decisions. It only needs a speedy implementation and sensitiveness, and the transformation is bound to happen.,,


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