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It has been around 3 weeks since Prime Minister Modi announced the demonetization move and with each passing day, it is becoming clearer that, although the intention was right, the execution couldn’t be shabbier.
I am a salary dependent person living in a Metro city, and hence least affected by this decision. I don’t have much cash, have access to online banking systems and most of my expenses are plastic money transactions.
I am also one of those fortunate people who will benefit most from such a move. My money is more valuable today as it is all “white”. It may very well help me to realize my goal of buying a decent house, since real estate prices are expected to drop.
I also think that this is one of the boldest move taken by a Indian PM in recent times. Perhaps the only one which impacts politicians materially and negatively, because our politicians are among the biggest hoarders of black money. In fact, I called it the much awaited Nayak moment for PM Modi. This is where I stand. This is my reality!
The Other Side of the Story
However, it is not the case for majority of our population. I do not fully understand the long term impact of this decision, however this move alone can only attack the accumulated black money. It does nothing to stop the generation of black money. I am hopeful that Modi would follow this decision up with a few others and we will be able to see the full picture later.
Nevertheless, right now people are suffering and for people like me it is indeed a minor inconvenience but that is because we are privileged. Most others are not.
Not everyone has ready access to banking systems. Even after Jan Dhan accounts, some people have to walk 10 km to reach to their nearest bank. Not everyone has smartphone with ability to pay for data to access apps like PayTm. Not everyone is savvy enough to use PayTm.
Not everyone is hail and hearty. Some have medical bills to pay with their cash savings in old notes. If you know our healthcare system and if you love yourself and your loved ones you won’t go to a government hospital to get treated. Even when you are poor. So government direction for acceptance of old notes at government hospital is a cruel joke for many.
Not everyone gets a salary. Some get daily wages, in cash, for the work that they do. Some are dependent on routine stuff they sell in small amounts in lieu of cash. Their sales have gone down drastically. Just look around and check and you will know.
Not everyone gets an option to have cashless transactions. My hometown doesn’t have a single shop which accepts card. It won’t be so different for thousands of small towns / villages in India.
This “not everyone” means crores of people.
So, what can we do about it?
Think about them next time you are brushing this as “minor” inconvenience for the greater good. You are being insensitive.
Therefore know and recognize your own privilege and help in anyway you can.
See a vendor who has a phone but doesn’t know how to use PayTm to accept payment ? Teach him.
Check with your maid / cook if she is facing any difficulties and see if you can help. May be you can order groceries from Grofers / BigBasket and help them.
If there is some other way you can help, share it with others, encourage them to help.
That is how you help your country, by helping your own countrymen. This is how you pay tribute to that soldier on the border. This is how you truly become a nationalist.
What are your thoughts on demonetization and privilege? Comment below or write to us at email@example.com
Please note: This article was published by the author in Quora previously. All opinions presented in this article are the author’s own.
- Demonetization: channeling privilege for greater good - November 28, 2016