INITIALLY people said about Note Ban, ‘The intention was good, implementation bad.’ But now the facts force us to ask questions about the PM’s intentions behind demonetisation.

Was ‘Note Ban’ just a mad and cruel whim of Modi the megalomaniac, so that Modi can feel powerful like a cross between Tughlaq and Hitler? Or is there also a method in the madness?

Note Ban Helps Corrupt Corporates Get More Cheap Credit – At The Cost Of People’s Savings

Remember how crooks like Mallya looted India’s banks and scooted without paying loans? The total amount of risky loans thus looted from banks by rich loan defaulters is Rs 11 lakh crore. To put this in perspective, recall that the 2G scam was just Rs 1.76 lakh crore – a tiny fraction of this amount. How are these huge loans to be recovered?

If an ordinary farmer takes a bank loan – he or she would have to repay the loan somehow even if they have to sell their fields for that. Farmers unable to repay debts have committed suicide in lakhs in our country. Governments refuse to waive loans of farmers. But in effect they are waiving the huge bank loans of the richest people in the country!

Governments are not willing to confiscate the assets of these rich loan defaulters, nor to blacklist them for further loans. Instead, in November 2016 the SBI has written off loans worth Rs 7,000 crore of its top 63 loan defaulters - including that of Vijaya Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines. Mallya owns several homes in the UK and is living in luxury even today, having fled India with the Government’s help. Similarly in 2015, public sector banks ‘restructured’ massive loans owed by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Gas to various public sector banks: Ambani will have to repay the loans by 2031 instead of 2019!

Now, because of these huge unpaid loans, banks became severely short of cash. The Government has chosen to restore cash to the banks’ coffers – not by forcing the rich defaulters to pay their loans but by using demonetisation to suck the savings of the poor into banks, and controlling the release of hard-earned savings only in small trickles. The poor are standing in queue for days on end and unable to withdraw their own savings. But banks will now be able to use those savings of the common people to pay out cheap loans again to the rich and corrupt!

Shaktikanta Das – the Government’s Economic Affairs Secretary– admitted recently that because of the Note Ban, “Domestic savings lying idle at home have come into banking system, will enable banks to give loans at lower interest rates.” Mr Das, the savings of the poor were not ‘lying idle at home’ – they were needed by them for running their families on a daily basis. Now these savings are lying in the banks – for you to give cheaper loans to the rich. The blood-and-sweat savings of the poor will, with your Government’s help, be looted from banks by the rich and corrupt for their profits!

Promoting Corporatisation of Retail, Agriculture And Banking

Remember how on November 9 itself – the very morning after the PM Modi’s announcement of Note Ban on the midnight of 8 November – newspapers had full-page PayTM ads with the PM Modi himself in them. Clearly the PayTM company must have had prior information about the Note Ban decision to have had their ad ready.

  • The PM says ‘PayTM Karo’ – go cashless, go digital. That will mean that many companies like PayTM will be able to skim profits from the smallest transactions of ordinary people. The BJP had made a show of opposing FDI in Retail, saying this would hit the small retailers and ‘mom-and-pop’ stores. But once in power, they have also supported FDI in retail. The forced entry into the cashless economy through the Note Ban will also serve the interests of the big retailers. Small-scale agriculture, fishing, shops, industries as well as informal sector will take a beating as big corporates benefit from the cashless and digital economy.

  • By deliberately printing Rs 2000 notes instead of smaller denominations; retaining ceilings on cash withdrawals; and delaying the printing of new notes and their release into the market; and propagating ‘cash’ as ‘corrupt’ and ‘cashless’ as ‘clean’, the Modi Government is seeking to promote cashless transactions – and therefore corporate interests over the interests of the poor.

  • Deliberately, private sector banks today are getting more cash flow from the RBI than the public sector banks. Through the Note Ban disaster, public sector banks also will be delegitimized.

A Political Talking Point For Assembly Polls

The other reason for the Note Ban decision is political. With Assembly elections in several states coming up, resentment was building up against the Modi Government for its broken promises. Modi had failed to bring back black money, bring down prices or create jobs. Instead all around attacks on Dalits and minorities by Sangh outfits which had the patronage of the Government. The PM first tried to bolster his sagging popularity with the ‘surgical strike’ in Uri. But people began to question why such a large number of soldiers were being killed on Modi’s watch – and why the Indian security establishment was unable to prevent attacks on military camps at Pathankot, Uri, or Nagrota. So Modi needed a new election plank – and he hoped that the ‘surgical strike on black money’ would help rebuild his image.