One versus all – the nation awaits

exch

The opposition parties have come together under one black umbrella in the most childish act by the opposition parties in the history of independent India. They have only one argument, ‘The poor is getting affected by the ban on Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes.’ Surprisingly, I could never understand, if the poor people are the biggest holders of those banned notes? Rs. 10, Rs, 20, Rs. 50, Rs. 100 all are under circulation, but the poor man is suffering because his Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 notes is not getting exchanged or he is not able to draw money from ATM? Is that the life, deed, actions and plight of a poor man? Which are those reports that say that 75 % of rural households have a monthly income of less than Rs five thousand in India? This amounts to around 133.5 million families! Is the authentic report false or these politicians are lying? Which poor people are they talking about?

So in this ocean of poverty that has been watered for years, three in four households in rural India, earns less than Rs. 5,000 a month and there are whopping 90 % households who earn less than Rs.10,000 a month. Going by this figure, whether the limit of Rs. 24,000 a week imposed by the government is less? May be less for those who want MORE, but surely the poor man is not going to withdraw more than Rs. 96,000 in a month.

The queues are long, yes they are but who all are standing in the queue is worth inspecting. I remember the days of Indian Railways prior to the Internet era, when tickets were available only at the Railways counters.  That time too, who can see brokers and agents standing for the tickets for commission? The situation is similar now also. The exchange of notes is limited to Rs. 4500 per counter. That means you can try as many counters you want in a day. The public is doing the same. This job requires only one eligibility criterion that is, having a valid ID proof.

Further, there is no central note exchange software to avoid repetitions; there is no single identification number to avoid multiple exchanges by producing multiple ID proof. So the queue remains same and it will till the notes are allowed to be exchanged. The so-called poor people in the queue have lots of money to exchange. Yes, the senior citizens are troubled, that should have been taken care by a separate queue.

The data from a report also says that about 670 million Indians in rural areas alone live on Rs.33 per day, then what is that they have to do with the ban on Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 notes? Even the earlier Planning Commission had also said that anyone spending more than Rs 781 per month in rural India and Rs 965 per month in urban India will not be considered poor. This was well accepted by all that time, so why are the politicians re-defining the poverty and the poor people? Based on the above figures only the cut-off line for the poverty line was updated and notified that those spending in excess of Rs 26 a day in rural areas and Rs 32 a day in urban areas will no longer be eligible to draw benefits welfare schemes meant BPL people.

Further it is to be noted that a family of four living in the metro cities like in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore or Chennai and spending anything more than Rs 3,860 per month on its members, would not be considered poor. So, there should not be any doubts on the Rs. 4500 exchange limit even in the urban areas where the politician’s poor people reside.

There will be political people who may question these figures but the previous government had still worse figures. They had proposed that anyone spending more than Rs 15 in rural areas and Rs 20 in urban areas should not be considered poor. At least these absurd figures were revised later. The erstwhile Planning Commission also stated that spending Rs 5.5 on cereals per day is adequate enough to keep people fit and fine. Further, daily spend of Rs 1.02 on pulses, Rs 1.95 on vegetables, Rs 2.33 on milk and Rs 1.55 on edible oil shall be deemed adequate for providing nutrition and keeping people above poverty line. So, as per earlier government standards, which poor will go to market with a Rs. 500 note?

How can one counter back the standards laid by them? Going by these, what still appear to be theoretical figures, not a single poor man should be suffering because of the Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 notes ban. So, it can well be understood that who are the people suffering because of the ban. The people in the queues in front of banks are not the ones who do not have food to eat, but the one who have enough amount of money to exchange!

It is true that our country have the largest number of people living under the international BPL standards and this is more than 2.5 times of poor people living in a country like Nigeria, which comes next. Why is this state of poor people in our country not improving as expected? It is these politicians who do injustice to them.

The naked truth on this matter is that, it is the politicians who are suffering the most. Next are the builders, the mafias, the separatists, the naxalites, all have become physically and mentally disabled because of the ban on Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 notes. Some shameless politicians are asking a window for the old notes in the name of poor. Some frustrated leaders want exchange limit increased.

There is a saying that, the thief needs to be smarter than the policeman to escape. After the announcement, the thieves have devised methods to convert the money to white. Some got hold of petrol pump owners, some caught bank managers and banking staff, some gave interest free loans to farmers, some booked fake tickets and some sold the currency for less. Labourers were hired to exchange the notes at various counters. The queue never ended. Government decided to ink the finger to avoid repetition but a daily cap of Rs. 4500 is being put by the same government. That means one person, one exchange in a day, but then what about the next day?

It would have been nice that the exchange should have been limited only to the account holders and the transactions of exchange (deposited and withdrawn) should have been reflected in the statement. Those not having account should be asked to open one. If they can have Rs. 4500 to exchange, they are well above poverty line. They should have the account. This way traceability would have been better.

Finally, a request to all politicians. Please don’t stage any drama in the name of the poor. Support the PM, if you are true to this country. At least learn from the people whom you idolise. Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Dr. Ambedakar, Lohia, Deen Dayal Upadhayaya all were great simple leaders who fought for a cause. So, if you follow them truly, please don’t oppose the ban on Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 notes. Also the people should understand which politicians are misusing the names of these great leaders and misleading people. It is surprising that some politicians are playing the caste card to counter this move and some are playing the religion card. How is that related to the ban? These are the same politicians that came forward united when the issue of the increase of their salaries was at stake.

The fact of the matter is that, We, the people of this country have never seen a courageous leader like our current PM? We need to rise above religion, caste, region, language and other political baits and support the cause that is a stepping stone in the process of transformation of our country into a superpower. The country has given so much to us; let us give back something to her!

The biggest hurdle in this entire process is the unavailability of an unique ID. Every citizen of our country should have an identity which should be unique and linked to the central server. All extra Ids like passport, voter ID, PAN card etc should be linked to it. The Aadhar number can fill this void, but it need to be implemented with the same intention. No shortcuts or loopholes allowed. Further, that number should be made compulsory. This way any person in any part of India can be traced to his roots or origin, his assets, his education, his job etc. all can be assessed with just one number. Hope this comes quickly. After all we have a gutsy leader as PM of this country.

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