Napoleon moment for Modi: Amartya Sen

New Delhi: The demonetization continues to cause difficulties to the people across the country despite the tall claims by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the self indulgence by his cabinet colleagues Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has described it as Napoleon moment for Narendra Modi.

Speaking to Karan Thapar of India Today on Tuesday, Sen said, “it is a gigantic mistake, both in terms of its objective of dealing with corruption as well as the objective of one rapid jump of getting into a cashless economy.” He said the ill-advised measure has affected a large section of people. The Nobel Prize winner said it is a unilateral decision by Modi and a small circle around him. “It was indeed not even the whole of the Central Government, it was a very small group around Modi. So the biggest question here, with the State Assembly elections approaching, is that whether there is an issue of federalism that needs to be addressed,” Amartya Sen Said. When asked how come Modi’s popularity kept soaring in spite of this measure, he said, ”Modi is a very good political leader, there is no doubt about it. He can certainly convince people so the Modi magic is there. But this is Modi’s Napoleon moment.”

New York Times described the demonetization move as “atrociously planned and executed.” The New York Times Editorial Board’s critical analysis concluded that due to currency swap the Indian economy is suffering.  “There is little evidence that the currency swap has succeeded in combating corruption or that it will forestall future bad behavior once more cash becomes available,” the newspaper opined in the editorial titled, ‘The cost of India’s man-made currency crisis.’ The manufacturing sector is contracting, real estate and car sales are down, and farm workers, shopkeepers and other Indians have been saying that shortage of cash has made their lives miserable.  The daily said no economy can lose that much currency in a few weeks without creating major hardship and certainly not one like that of India, “where cash is used for about 97 per cent of consumer transactions by volume.”

Two months since demonetization neither the prime minister nor the RBI Governor made any statement about the quantity of black money unearthed. No authenticated statement on how much cash was deposited nor is there any statement about cyber security for online transactions. There is no indication about the time when limits on cash transactions would be withdrawn. What is the big idea? Is to stifle the fund flow of the opposition parties? Was the exercise undertaken keeping the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in view? How come the RSS is completely silent? Why is the Government indulging in leaks saying that three or four lakh crores of black money would be found at the end of the process? These are the questions asked by people who are getting impatient by the day. Rahul Gandhi, who returned on Tuesday from a short foreign trip, on his part said the Indians are being ridiculed abroad for the foolish decision of demonetization.  The BJP has asked Rahul to know the ground reality before commenting on the economy.  The debate goes on.

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