Demonetisation feels more like a mirage now...
The common man is still hopeful that corruption will be weeded out, and things will get better soon. But ever since the step has been taken, people are only facing problems -- and things aren't getting any better.
People are struggling to run their homes; the AOAs are struggling to maintain their offices; daily wage earners are desperate for payments; factory owner have had to cut down on production because of lack of cash to pay workers.
From my society alone, three maintenance staff have already left because we could not pay them in cash. So, we are having to make do with just four members at the moment. Many AOAs still do not have enough cash for daily expenses, and are in the same situation as they had been a month back.
The intent of the initiative was certainly good, but the execution has been a blunder. It has pushed the common man to the end of his patience.
The ban has forced people to resort to electronic transactions -- but again, that is risky. Online frauds are way too common. And moreover, senior citizens never feel secure and comfortable transacting online. The problem takes menacing proportions for daily wage earners, who do not have the knowledge or literacy to operate online.
This overnight transition failed to reap benefits because of lack of any groundwork. As it has been for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Jan Dhan Yojana, the government should have conducted awareness drives to educate people on digital banking and online transactions before taking such a great plunge.
The government's attempt cannot be successful unless it takes into account all strata of the society. It should have planned its every move very cautiously, since a change such as this impacts every single citizen of the country.
The move further pushed people to deposit all their cash in banks. It is common practice in India for wives to secretly stash away some cash for family emergencies -- that money, too, is gone.
The introduction of the new Rs-2,000 note is yet another blunder. It will only facilitate better hoarding. On the other hand, for the common folks, it is difficult to carry out daily transactions with such a high-value note. It's much like a diamond ring -- looks good, but can't really be used.
Particularly in the absence of 100-rupee notes and very slack circulation of 500-rupee notes, this new high-value tender becomes even more difficult to use.
The government should have arranged for sufficient 500-rupee notes first.
But people are hopeful... they are suffering to see an end to corruption and black money. But in reality, things have not taken off as predicted.
We do stand by the decision of our prime minister, but he does have a lot of questions to answer.
-- Apart being the founder of FedAOA, Alok Kumar is also an RTI activist, who has been fighting against several social ills, particularly the evil nexus of real-estate developers in Ghaziabad.