INDIA'S common people, hit by the Note Ban announcement by PM Modi on 8 November, initially thought that they would suffer temporarily for the noble cause of cleansing the country of black money and punishing black money holders. As the days have passed and Modi’s own 50-day deadline is up, the truth about the Note Ban has unfolded bit by bit. In the pages that follow, we seek to compare the tall promises of demonetisation with its cruel and painful reality.

On 8 November 2016, PM Modi announced:

“Mitron, from midnight onwards the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes are no longer legal tender... it’s a surgical strike on black money... minor inconvenience for the honest common folk and sleepless nights for the corrupt and rich.”

In the initial days, in spite of the endless queues and the suffering, many common people felt that they were willing to suffer and make sacrifices for the sake of the war on black money. They felt that the rich would be forced to throw away their black money in sacks as rubbish – and this gave them a sense of satisfaction. They also believed the PM when he declared that Note Ban would destroy all the fake money, break the back of terror funding, and also ensure clean elections since all the black cash amassed by political parties will become useless overnight.

But questions about the implementation of the Note Ban surfaced almost immediately.