Queue for a cause

note

The late evening announcement by Prime Minister on the ban of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes in India had taken away the sleep of many currency keepers. Suddenly the entropy of the country had increased may folds. But, if we carefully observe, these currency keepers (CK) can be divided into three parts;

First category, the small scale CK, which include mainly the common middle and lower class men, the housewives, the daily wages workers, the rickshaw drivers, the constables, the small shop vendors, the small farmers etc. These CKs have hardly up to Rs. 20,000 as liquid in their hands, which may be in the form of Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000. These belong mostly to the honest category with their hard earned white money. If corrupt, the basic needs may be the reasons.

Second category, the middle scale CK, which include mainly, the shopkeepers, the upper middle and upper class men, the private organisation engineers and doctors, the middle level police personnel, the clerks and babus in govt. organisations, the small real estate agents, the travel agents, the small healthcare units, the village pradhans, the customs and tax executives, the forest officials, the black marketers, the BSAs, the CMOs, small lawyers, small judgement makers, the small private school managers and similar ones. The honesty level in these types of humans is less. They are semi corrupt or fully corrupt in nature. They hold Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 2 million as liquid in their hands at any point of time. The excess over that keeps getting invested in various forms of assets acquisition activities. These people mainly deal with Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 currency notes.

Third category, the large scale CK, which include mainly, the malls owners, the real estate builders and agents, the hawala agents, the senior level police officers, the politicians, the civil servants, the corporators, the landlords, the big healthcare units, the NGOs, big lawyers, big farmers, big judgement makers, big businessmen, the private engineering and medical college managers, big contractors, the film makers, the actors, the news channel owners and similar ones. These are fully corrupt lot and they focus mainly on the black money. They have the power to get the money and means to accumulate it. They run parallel banks and store their money in safe places. They hold Rs. 2 million to Rs. 2 trillion as liquid with them. Anything in excess is handled by various forms of money storing techniques. These people deal only with currency of higher denominations. These are the people who are part of the three pillars of the democracy and the lot which governs the country. No one can dare question or raid them.

With the above distribution of money among the people in the country, one can clearly understand that the decision of demonetisation the currency notes will affect which lot (obviously the third one)? However it also indicates who will suffer in case of non-availability of new currency notes (obviously the first one as they have always hand to mouth situation as far as the currency is concerned). Hence it is clear that there shall be long term impact on the second and third category people where as a short term impact on the first category people. This is the main reason why people in second and third categories are firing the bullets on the government from the shoulders of first ones. They want some relief for themselves. The concerned and responsible citizens of our country should know and understand this.

From the time of declaration made by the PM, the scene in the country is unbelievable. A bigger section of the people didn’t believe it for long. No one expected such a bold, drastic and path-breaking decision can be ever made. And when the public came out of the shock, it was immediately divided into two groups; one who start worrying of managing the cash starved days ahead for their daily chores, mainly the first category people; the second who started worrying of what to do with their stack of cash available with them, mainly the second and third category people.

Since the majority of the India population falls in the first category, the decision of banning of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes went well deep inside their heart. With the joy of surprise they welcomed it knowing that the next few days are heavy on them. Chances are that they may not be able to have even the food for one time.

My milkman said it to me, ‘So what sir? When Lal Bahadur Shastri asked, people started fasting for one day a week and even more. If the cause is noble, we are ready to sacrifice anything.’ The security guard said, ‘I will not go to the bank first few days to exchange the notes, let others who are needy do that.’ I was surprised and thought if everyone could think this way; the chaos would have been lesser. Like him, I too was not able to exchange the notes till today seeing the heavy rush at the ‘box office’.

After the decision, it was all on the banks to see that the aftereffects of the decision are not so evident. They started building their strategies. They expected huge crowds. And, from the day banks started exchanging the notes, the scene turned up like a battlefield. The bank employees devoted all their skills and courage to satisfy the customers. Some even made special counters for the senior citizens. The second and third category people didn’t like this. They started provoking people and asked them to express their anguish. Even my neighbour started cribbing over this on his experience of note exchange. ‘Oh My God! It took a terrible two and half hours in the queue.’ He is the same person who stood for five hours in the queue to get the tickets for an Indo-Pak cricket match.

Many WhatsApp jokes asked people to carry bed-sheets, water bottles and of course lots of patience etc. while on the mission for the exchange of the notes. Some channels asked people to share the videos of the trouble they are experiencing. Some places, people in the queue created ruckus and shared it on online platforms. Unfortunately there was a death in the queue. There were few suicides. But the situation is far better than that shown by the media to highlight the chaos. Even when the petrol pumps were asked to accept the ban currency notes, a big percentage of the people were still paying for the fuel in the legal denominations. There were few instances of money-oriented hospitals denying the service for the banned denominations. Some petrol pumps also did but that didn’t stop common man in their thankful praising of decision of the PM. The marriage parties at first were in panic, but then they too did alternate legal arrangements. There were few instances of marriages getting postponed due to the crash crunch, but then the people understood, which type of money was supposed to be used. Farmers too didn’t have any problems but the politicians and the media reported that. In fact, many farmers got benefited from the interest free loans that the politicians distributed to make their back money white. The farmers thankfully deposited the same in the bank. No taxes to be paid! The politicians showing such mercy were also benefited to the maximum.

In a nutshell, the boldest decision in the post independence Indian history has not created many problems worth discussing. It was a secret mission; hence even the banks were not prepared for that. The ATM machines were forced to work with reduced efficiency with no Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes in the machine slots and with the customers bulging up exponentially, they were getting dried soon. The calibration of the machines with new introduced note is a time taking exercise.

Frankly speaking, the bank employees are the true soldiers of this surgical strike on bank money and most of these are proud that they happen to be the part of this war against black money. They are the ones who are working for eighteen hours a day to ensure that the real motive behind this move is fulfilled. My newlywed sister-in-law, who works in a bank, came to house at night, 1130 consecutively with no complaints. They are unable to find time even to visit the washroom with angry, frustrated, enthusiastic, irritated customers sitting on their head with queue tailing down to many meters. Many places there are heated debates. For any queries, the bank employees have a single answer, ‘Ask Modi?’ Their holidays are cancelled, the way the holidays for the soldiers are cancelled during war time. Life is returning and will return to normalcy. Selfies with new Rs. 2000 note say it all though some are still finding defects in the new note.

So, who is making lots of noise in the name of public inconvenience, farmers, and marriages? You raid that person and you may get tons of banned waste paper. Many say, ‘I am standing in the queue to get my money.’ So what! You stood in the queue to get admission form for your kids, you stood in the queue for passport application, for bill payments. You never complained! Visit Tirupati temple, and you will see thousands of people standing in queue for four to 10 hours, just for a glimpse of God! Similarly, in many other temples too. Then, why such hue and cry? Why can’t people think of the nation first, cutting across the religion or the party lines?

On one side there are people who want to be part of this cleanliness drive and wholeheartedly support the cause with happily accepting the inconvenience, if any. On the other side, there are people who are finding means to convert their black money to white. These are mostly third category people. There are builders who are ready to take the cash of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes with degraded value for a property and promise to return it as and when the EMI for the same reaches them after the sanction of the loan. There are politicians who are distributing interest free loans to farmers. One intelligent fellow has hired a person with an ID proof, who keeps exchanging Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes with a cap of Rs. 4000 from various branches of banks and post offices throughout the day. He gets a percentage for that. Many have booked railway tickets just to dispense the money. Many are buying gold carefully. Many of the so called smart people firmly believe that some or other bank manager will help them out. Some have trust on the petrol pump owners.

Entire India has woken up. There is hardly any work going on in the offices, except in the banks. The biggest economical revolution is ON. The biggest hurdle in the entire exercise of cleaning up the black money is the unique identity number for the citizens, which is not available. The government had tried its best to open bank accounts for all. It had given option to the people to declare the black money. But somehow a single unique identity for the citizens of India has not been materialised. Today also we go for various identity cards like pan card, Govt. ID cards, passport, voter ID card, aadhar card etc. Had there been a single identity proof, the scenario would have been better. Where ever you exchange the notes or do a transaction, records shall get linked to it and show it up to avoid any duplicity. This unique identity number is the need of the hour.

Finally, hailing this landmark decision of our PM, I thank all the bank employees for their hard work and patience in this war against black money. They are the real contributors in this nation building exercise. Further, the honesty in their job at all levels shall also reap nice benefits in years to come.

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