On Novemeber 8, 2016 Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi made an announcement that invalidated the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes. A move that aimed to eliminate the evil of ‘black money’ that has been plaguing India’s economy for several decades. Many expressed concern over the execution of the move, while many more hailed it as a historic step towards a cleaner more transparent India.
Subhash Chandra pens his thoughts,
Demonetisation is the talk of the season, and for a great reason! Hence, it is also the theme of my Season’s Greetings this year. However, this is not an op-ed on demonetisation, more a reflection on what this could mean for us as individuals.
It has been 25 years since the reforms of 1991, forced upon a fragile economy, by the international monetary organisations, with very little or no choice in the hands of Indian Polity of that time. Though it was smartness of our English trained bureaucrats that they were also advised by the same dictating international lending organisations, how to turn it to “Politically advantageous positioning” which resulted in the then finance minister and the Prime Minister as the fathers of so called ECONOMIC LIBERALISATION. The most of opposition had voiced its descent, though in a democratic manner and had a healthy debate, unlike this time. The reforms were so sweeping and historic, that it took several years for their full impact to be realised and appreciated. The bureaucracy fully supported the 1991 reforms as the dictation came from their Alma Maters of USA & the rest of west. This time there was reluctance as the demonetisation is a MADE IN INDIA reform rather than the imported one. One weekly newspaper announced on 13th November “The Lutyen’s district busy to make sure that PM Modi’s Demonetisation fails”
Notice conceptual similarities with demonetization? Once again a bold, audacious move by a strong-willed individual. Political capital in favour of this step is low; intellectuals are queuing to detest the decision, much as the people are queuing in front of empty ATMs.
Amid the din, the significance of the various reforms taken up by the government seems to have been lost.
Over 25 Crore accounts have been opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna so far and they were all given RuPay Card. Aadhar card already has 100 Cr. people registered and has become the bedrock of all govt. subsidies. The push for GST and digital economy will change the way every single individual and business transacts in this country. The push towards, banking transaction and many other initiatives of the current Government, together, these reforms combined with demonetisation, have the potential to be game changing for the country.
India is changing, and changing fast! We are moving towards an era of transparency and compliance, and the old mindset that has got us so far, needs to change too. The 1991 reforms threw up a whole new set of opportunities, and leaders. We are likely at that threshold again. The choice is ours — whether we miss the bus or take it! Though this time THE LEADER IS DETERMINED, with or without us. He took a big political risk, by this move, which potentially can take away his traditional vote bank of business communities.
As an entrepreneur, I find it interesting how companies like PayTm have leveraged this opportunity successfully, simply by being there at the right time, right place, and with the right mindset! It is important to not lose sight of the opportunity, to seize the initiative “now,” and to explore new avenues for growth, both within and outside.
Even as I prepare myself to adapt to the changing realities, I remain convinced that 2017 could be a special year! It may be the time we celebrate a New India. India is being reborn as we speak, and I am hopeful we will do the same in our careers, our lives!
On a different note, here are 2 beautiful lines from the song Aazaadiyan from Udaan:
पैरों की बेड़ियाँ ख्वाबों को बांधे नहीं रे, कभी नहीं रे| मिट्टी की परतों को नन्हे से अंकुर भी चीरे, धीरे-धीरे|
I wish you abundant prosperity and happiness, and hope that the New Year brings you everything that your heart sets out for!