Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Why is Mahesh Murthy ignoring the facts on Demonetisation – A Rebuttal

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference: 
Mahesh Murthy wrote 15 points on his facebook post, bemoaning the Demonetization process. I am still left wondering why he makes it so easy to rebut his arguments. A similar discussion happened here (Part 1 and Part 2) between the both of us after the Bihar elections. Now that he is back to making random statements, I am back giving clarifications on them! Here we go.
Statement # 1: So what is #Demonetisation really all about? We were told it’s to stop terror attacks. But now the attacks have increased.
Clarification # 1: I love the “attacks have increased” generalization without any quantification. So I did a google search of “Attacks by terrorists in J&K from November 8th” and the first link I got was an Indian Express story - “Timeline of terror attacks in Jammu-Kashmir after surgical strikes”. There were 5 encounters since November 9th. 3 of them based on intelligence inputs, after which a handful of terrorists were killed.  17 encounters/gun battles before that (up to September 29th).
Mahesh Murthy doesn’t tell you about another increase that happened – The post-demonetisation period has seen the highest ever surrender by the Naxalites/Maoists. Let facts be. We now move on.
Statement#2: Then we were told it will cut supply of Indian notes across the border. But terrorists had new notes before most of us did :)
Clarification#2: This story has been debunked in this OpIndia article – “How sensationalist media obfuscated the truth about terrorists having Rs. 2000 notes”. They had just two Rs.2000 notes. Not very hard to get them from one of their sympathizers.
Statement#3: Then we were told it’s actually about wiping out #BlackMoney. But even Banks’ own estimates say that very little has come in.
Clarification#3: Again I love the generalization of “very little has come in”. Up to November 27th, nearly 8.1 lakh crore rupees were deposited in the bank accounts. There is 6 lakh crore rupees cash still in the system. We are yet to see official data after the new Tax rules were applied. We are yet to get official figures of how much of this is “Black Money”. But then why wait if you want to comment freely!
Statement#4: Then we were told it’s to take #BlackMoney out of politics. But then the 1st person caught with unaccounted new cash in new notes was… a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) guy.
Clarification#4: We have since heard of many news reports of old and new cash being caught in Karnataka, Telangana, Manipur, Nagaland, Maharashtra, and other places. How does it matter if the “1st person” caught is a “BJP guy”. More importantly, isn’t it a daring move by the PM that he didn’t even care that members of his party also might be exposed?

Statement#5: Further when a blogger said the car of MP’s Chief Minister, another Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) man, was stopped with 30 crores cash, he was arrested.
Clarification#5: The “blogger” was arrested because he spread fake news, linking a suicide to Demonetisation. The theory has again been debunked. If your argument is that people are free to spread lies, fear and panic, then I really have no counter to it.
Statement#6: We’re told #Demonetisation is to hurt the criminals and not the common man. But no black money evaders have died – while 70 common folks have, waiting in line.
Clarification#6: One should be ashamed for trying to milk deaths in this fashion. Family members of many of the deceased have themselves told that the deaths have nothing to do with demonetization. It still beats me as to what kind of pleasure do people derive from trying to take advantage of tragedies. It also amuses me that people like Mahesh Murthy want to quantify the success of this program by the number of black money evaders who have died.
Statement#7: We’re told we must tolerate all this for patriotic reasons. But govt made sure political parties are above law & can have unaccounted cash. BJP itself declared 505 cr black money income in 2016
Clarification#7: Will Mahesh Murthy be so kind to tell us that is the source of “BJP itself declared 505 cr black money income in 2016”? If they have declared it, then all appropriate penalties must have been imposed on them, right? Can he give more details on this, or are we to just take this at face value?
Statement#8: We’re told the operation is meticulously planned. But the RBI announces a new rule and regulation every day, each more confusing than the other.
Clarification#8: RBI and the government have been changing guidelines and deadlines every day, precisely to prevent further misuse of existing provisions. This is a war-like situation and status quo will never work. For example, inputs have come in as to how big money holders are misusing the 4000 rupee exchange limit. The government stepped in to surprise them, and change the rules. Many of the rules that were changed were precisely to surprise black money hoarders – perfect example of how the government is keeping its ears on the ground. Were a few of the changes avoidable? Of course! But notice how GoI reverted back or reduced rules, if feedback was bad. Like a fellow tweeter said – “I’d be worried if RBI and GoI were not taking dynamic decisions for such a massive exercise”
Statement#9: We’re told the planning started long ago. But the Rs. 2000 notes are not even in one size, and their colour washes off.
Clarification#9: Another rumour that has been debunked. I am sure Mahesh Murthy knows it but still derives some pleasure in spreading these rumours.
Statement#10: We’re told the RBI is on top of it. But then no one seemed to know that each ATM across India has to be recalibrated to accept new notes.
Clarification#10: This point has also been explained well. The need for secrecy is paramount in this operation. So far, nearly 1.8 lakh ATMs have already been recalibrated. There is a reason why the Prime Minsiter asked for 50 days.
Statement#11: In Sep, a #BlackMoney sweep picked up 65,000 cr at a 45% penalty with no pain to common man. This time all this pain is for a 50% penalty
Clarification#11: 50% penalty + 25% of the amount locked for 4 years in a new scheme, with no interest. If you don’t declare, 85% penalty. The pain on the hoarders is quite significant should they chose not to declare!
Statement#12: Now we’re told it’s not about #BlackMoney or #Terror but it’s about #Digital #Cashless society. But India is a long way from being all digital. All we are now is cashless though.

Clarification#12: We were never told that this is *not* about Black Money. We are also being told that a Digital, Cashless society is the way forward and now is the best time for people to transition to such a model of operation. Wherever possible, what just is the harm in doing so? The status-quo brigade has always questioned any dynamic move with the same argument – “The country is not ready”. This brigade just fancies things to remain the same.
Statement#13: So what is #Demonetisation really all about? We are told, wait and see how India will become great. Then only we’ll realise.
Clarification#14: Demonetisation is about the war on black money. Many people across the country have realized this. The path to success is not easy, but we are willing to wait to realise the fruits of this program. Too bad, status quoists like Mahesh Murthy aren’t!
Statement#14: Can we accept that nothing was planned or executed well? Rather than owning up to faults, pride of govt & PM doesn’t acknowledge failure.
Clarification#14: There have been drawbacks in the execution and most importantly the drawbacks are being continuously fixed. Countless number of people are working towards making this a success.
Statement#15: So we have an unplanned, badly executed, lethal & perhaps ineffective country-wide program. And we have to wait with faith because, you know, #AccheDin
Clarification#15: We don’t mind waiting.


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