The Reserve Bank of India finally finished counting notes and said that 99.3% of banned notes were returned. Of course, from this one statistic we cannot and should not conclude that demonetisation was for nothing.
This is a time to be positive, as our leader has asked us to be.
So many good and encouraging things happened, which were just not conceivable if demonetisation had not been done. So what did demonetisation achieve?
- Socialisation increased: people stopped spending time in closed offices working by themselves on the computers. They stood outside in the open, talking to strangers, exchanging life stories. How wonderful.
- Pollution reduced: Auto and taxi drivers did not have cash to put petrol and the passengers did not have money to take rides. That meant less traffic and less pollution. Also since people were walking more, it meant better health too.
- Social barriers broke down: Rich people had to speak with poor people as they offered them commissions to bank their cash. These prompted great earning opportunities for the poor, who did not have to make pakodas (fritters) any more. Also it was great exposure to the rich about how to speak with those who are poorer.
- Paper and printing industry benefited as millions of notes were printed.
- Transporters benefited what with those notes being moved around the country. This did offset the gains made by reducing pollution I mentioned in point 2 above but overall it was a gain.
- All that disgusting black money was converted to pristine white money. I mean no one wants dirty money, do they?
- So many economists can now study demonetisation. Much learning and much winning for them and all of us.
- Some people got employment in social media war-rooms to spread the word about the positives of demonetization. Along with the employment was the added benefit of reducing negativity in society, All those doubting the value of demonetisation had to be shouted down and silenced. Remember “soldiers are standing on the border?” message. I am sure many people were motivated to join the army. They now had the practice of standing and more people in the army means more security for all of us.
and if in return for all these wonderful achievements, there were some minor costs like
- GDP slumping a teeny weeny bit (just 1%) because small and large transactions were seriously affected.
- RBI incurred nearly Rs. 3,400 odd crores additional burden on printing notes and more on transporting these to banks.
- Some people died while standing in lines. Their fault really. They should not have gone out without chairs, water, food and medical supplies. Plus anyway, lots of people die in India every day. No big deal.
You cannot make an omlette without breaking eggs, as Bismarck is reputed to have said once.