It has been 15 days since the Indian government announced its decision to ban currency notes of ₹500 and ₹1000 denomination. While politicians at large are united in opposing this move, the media has largely been divided, while some are calling it a game changer, others are criticising the Government’s every move .
While the Central Government is trying hard to defend its move with Venkaiya Naidu, Piyush Goyal and Arun Jaitley playing a central role, Narendra Modi on November 21 tweeted from his personal handle (not from the PMO’s) asking people to participate in a survey.
While it’s a great idea to want to reach out to people who have been hit by his unexpected (yet bold) move, the quality of questions asked was more than shocking.
One question was particularly disturbing was ‘Q.9’, which asked, “Do you believe that some anti-corruption activists are now actually fighting in support of black money, corruption and terrorism?” I had to literally read the question twice, as someone who is against demonetisation will now be accused of supporting terrorism?
While Modi might think that he’s doing the right thing, this accusation is absolutely unwarranted. Anyone who is against demonetisation must have their arguments.
The first argument being, what about those who have lost their lives standing in queues due to a shortage of food, water or extreme weather conditions?
The Indian government literally pushed its citizenry in peril by holding 86% of the running cash invalid, and left everybody with no option but to stand in long queues outside banks. Every life is precious, and more than 50 of them have lost it because of demonetisation. If someone is holding the Central Government or the RBI Governor responsible for the same, you cannot really disagree with that person.
So if the Prime Minister thinks anybody who is opposing demonetisation is supporting terrorism, he cannot be more wrong. Apart from this, other questions asked in the survey also leave little room for dissent.
For example, a question where Modi wants to know if demonetisation will help bring real estate, higher education, healthcare within the common man’s reach, the only options available are ‘1. Completely agree’, ‘2. Partially agree’, ‘3. Can’t say’. I was looking for a fourth and fifth option, namely, ‘Partially disagree’ and ‘Completely disagree’, but could not find them.
Another question that we could ask PM Modi – What was the need for such a survey if what is to be done has already been decided? You seem to know all the pros and cons. It’s possible that Modi has realised that people are starting to find merit in Kejriwal’s (arguably the staunchest critic of demonetisation) arguments.