PM Modi said that Note Ban is like ‘kadak chai’ – strong tea – that the poor enjoy but the rich find bitter. He kept telling the poor that they should bear their suffering because the rich and corrupt are suffering even more. The rich would be punished for hoarding black money, plus their illegal cash would become raddi (scrap paper) post December 30.

Uma Bharti even claimed that Modi’s demonetisation move is so pro-poor as to qualify as Marxist. Actually Uma Bharti is admitting that Marxism – which BJP claims is ‘anti-national’ - is actually pro-poor!

Have The Rich Suffered?

The Government has announced that black money can still be deposited post December 30, with a tax of 50% - a mere 5% more than the VID scheme pre 8 November. So, in the middle of a war with black money, the Government has struck a deal with the enemy, and offered a whitewash service to the corrupt.

  • The seth, the maalik, the sahebs and memsahibs are all managing with plastic money, at best they face tiny inconveniences.

  • The likes of Gautam Adani (crores of whose huge unpaid loans were waived by the Government), Vijay Mallya (who looted banks and scooted thanks to the Modi Government’s help) and Lalit Modi who was also enabled by Modi’s own Ministers and party leaders to escape corruption charges in India have tweeted fulsome praise of demonetisation. Aishwarya Rai, named in the Panama Papers, came out in public support of demonetisation. An ‘anti-corruption’ move is praised most by the corrupt!

Weddings of common people are disrupted all over India. But corrupt Bellary mining baron and former BJP MLA Gali Janardana Reddy lavished Rs 550 crore on his daughter’s wedding, while Mukesh Ambani held a huge pre-wedding extravaganza for his niece.

BJP Minister Nitin Gadkari chartered 50 private planes for VIP guests including PM Modi to attend his daughter’s wedding. BJP Ministers Bandaru Dattatraya and Arun Jaitley also hosted lavish weddings for their daughters. So, the lives and wealth of the super-corrupt and super-rich were not affected in the least by demonetisation.

The Impact On The Poor

For the poor, Note Ban has meant Job Ban, Food Ban, Life Ban....

  • More than 100 extremely poor men, women, peasants and workers died due to demonetisation

  • Farmers aren’t able to pay for seeds on time; sell their produce due to Note Ban or pay their debts

  • Sick people are not able to pay for treatment in hospitals. Cancer patients in rural India are dying because they lack the cash to make the journey to hospitals in the cities

  • Of the 48.63 lakh workers in Delhi’s unorganised sector alone, almost all lost their jobs for many weeks to months and a large chunk of them migrated back to villages. A similar situation prevailed in every state.

  • Workers were paid in old currency, or their payments delayed. Crores of migrant workers from all corners of the country have been forced to reverse migrate.

  • People in all sectors of the economy are severely affected. Tea garden workers have been thrown to the brink of starvation. Similarly beedi, construction, textiles, transport, garments, leather, jewellery, domestic, agricultural and all other workers have been badly affected.

  • The elderly are finding it difficult to survive because they cannot access their pensions.

  • Small shopkeepers and street vendors are losing business to big malls and corporate retailers because they cannot go ‘cashless.’

  • College students and school students are unable to pay their fees.

  • Women saved small amounts of cash over the years, sometimes hiding it from alcoholic husbands or family members, for use in case of any emergency. Now, their savings are public. Many women do not have bank accounts so we are forced to deposit them in men’s accounts, losing their control over their own savings.

It is the cruelest joke here that the PM is suggesting that the Jan Dhan accounts of the poor are being used to launder black money or that beggars are using swipe machines.

Note Ban has resulted in a full scale economic slow-down from which the country – and especially the poor workers and farmers – will need a very long, painful struggle to recover.