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In Focus

February, 16

100 Days of Demonetisation Blunder: ATMs still have no notes and Pak is pumping high quality fake notes

As India nears 100 days of Demonetisation, people were expecting counterfeit currency would never raise its ugly head again, and that Modi ji, as promised, had silenced Pakistan once and for all. We wish this was true. It is, unfortunately, another jumla, one that was designed by the PM to hide his lack of foresight and chronic ineptitude.

After the briefest of interludes, cash has once again dried up from the ATMs across the country. There have been media reports that say that almost 30% of ATMs are not dispensing any cash. PM Modi had made a solemn promise asking the nation for 50 days time. It is double that, and Indians are still suffering. Speeches will not make India a cashless economy, but building capacity and increasing connectivity will. Sadly, on all these fronts, the Modi Government is still lagging behind its own targets. 

Equally worryingly, a bunch of brand new Rs 2000 notes have been seized in Bengal, recently. They aren’t legal tender, but nearly as good as legal tender. Any untrained eye would find it impossible to spot the difference at a cursory glance. Media reports have quoted experts as claiming that Pakistani counterfeiters have copied 11 of the 17 security features of the new Rs 2000 notes with a great degree of accuracy. 

How was this possible? After all, Modi ji had thumped his chest in public, and had even ventured as far as to mock the common man who was struggling to figure out why Modi ji had made him the main protagonist in this nightmarish reality TV like show in which he himself chose to play the invisible Big Boss.

If counterfeiting was the target, it would have been a better strategy to mount global pressure on Pakistan and strengthened India’s security and intelligence to make things difficult for those smuggling counterfeit currency into India. The latest tranche of counterfeit notes found their way through India’s porous Eastern borders. What has the Government done on this front?

Much has been written about the ineffective manner in which Demonetisation was implemented and how it has hurt businesses, ruined families, and killed honest, hardworking Indians. In Shri Modi’s hurry to implement this decision, he didn’t even add any new security features. 

The question that people are asking is what was the hurry? Why couldn’t the Government add new security features before implementing Demonetisation? What we now have is a population that is unfamiliar with the features and texture of the new Rs 2000 note, exposing themselves to being duped by unscrupulous counterfeiters.

The quality of the new fake notes has left many experts baffled. As more and more fake notes are being seized, it is becoming abundantly clear that new security features were required. To put it in perspective, when the UPA Government decided to phase out the older currency from before 2005, a host of new security features were added to ensure that it would be difficult to counterfeit. 

To cover up its blunder, Modi Government and the BJP used their informal network and army of trolls on social media to spread fake information. Some of the stories were farcical. One of the more absurd stories doing the rounds was that each Rs 2000 note would be equipped with ‘a GPS tracking chip’. 

Over a period 30 months, Shri Narendra Modi ran a government which was devoid of any policy direction. As a Prime Minister, he was more concerned with attending rallies, starring in big events and travelling the world at the cost of the Indian tax payer, than actually devising policies for the nation. This is best evidenced in his confused foreign policy on Pakistan and his ineffective economic vision which is high on rhetoric and low on substance.

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