Long lines of common people in front of banks all over the countryto get the demonetized bills exchanged are a common sight. At many places scuffles broke out resulting in serious injuries to people. One such scene in Delhi, India's capital, November 14
Long lines of common people in front of banks all over the countryto get the demonetized bills exchanged are a common sight. At many places scuffles broke out resulting in serious injuries to people. One such scene in Delhi, India's capital, November 14

It is very surprising why Team Modi ignored the very basic fact that the 1% of richest Indians own 53% of country’s wealth. Further the 5% of richest own 68.6% of country’s wealth, while the top 10% have 76.3%. On the other hand, 53.7 percent of the population(or 650 million)poor own princely 4.1% of the nation’s wealth.

I wish Modi should have done a “Surgical Strike” to recover black money by raiding all the business premises and residences all over India of the 5,275 “willful defaulters” – together, they owe India’s banks INR 56,521 Crore. And all big business houses like Ambani, Adani, Tata, Birla, Sun Pharma, Jindal etc. etc. should have also been raided by the enforcement directorate. To be politically incorrect, Modi should have raided every political party’s premises and every politician’s homes, businesses, offices and vacation homes. It is an open secret that 67% of income of the 6 National Parties comes from unknown sources as well as from foreign lobbyists.

India’s corporate houses owe the PSU Banks Rs 5 Lakh crore out of this about Rs 1.4 Lakh crore are owed by just 5 companies only. Gautam Adani, the mentor or big supporter of Modi, his group alone owes Rs 72,000.00 crore. In last 2-3 years Adani Group’s net worth has gone up by a whopping 85%! Incidentally the entire crop loan of all the farmers of India is also Rs 72,000 crore. All these corporate houses are cooking books and people who are controlling them are living a very lavish life that includes most expansive real estates, private islands, big fat weddings, Jets, luxury yachts and big fleets of luxury cars besides tons of gold and diamond jewelry as well as single dress/sari costing Rs. 2-3 crores. The investigators could have found numerous “Shell Companies” stashed with black money in India & abroad; used for bribing politicians, bureaucrats, judges, and law enforcement officials and for their personal luxuries.

Cyrus Mistry, the ousted Chairman of Tata Sons, is already spilling beans how Ratan Tata along with Niira Radia, the famous lobbyist, was using corporate jets for their personal work, how Ratan Tata increased the cost of PR for the company from Rs40crore to Rs 60 crore by hiring Arun Nanda’s Redefussion. Mistry has also accused Ratan Tata of making questionable investment decisions in favor of his friends’ companies to cause massive losses to Tata sons.

This figure was about Rs 30 crore in 2015. Mistry also accused Ratan Tata for allowing directors to draw additional parallel commission from group companies.

Modi will not do a “Surgical Strike on Black Money” involving the premier corporate houses and the willful defaulters because these people spent Rs 32,000.00 crore on Modi’s campaign for 2 years to install him as Prime Minister of India in 2014.

This is very disturbing how could the Team Modi ignore some of the other very important facts before embarking on “Carpet Bombing” as the Supreme Court of India has said about the so called “Surgical Strike on Black Money”.

Out of the total cash in circulation, 86% are in large denomination like Rs 500 &Rs 1000 bills because with Rs 100 bill practically you cannot buy anything in India. Some economists have questioned the decision of introduction of Rs 2,000 bill. They say, if the policy is aimed to force people into the banking system, why the government issued a higher denomination bill -presumably an even more convenient vehicle for black money transactions? May be Team Modi wanted to make life easier for their campaign donors by introducing the higher denomination bills. The weight of Rs 1 crore in Rs 1000 notes is 12 Kg and for Rs 2000 notes it will be 6 Kg only, causing no inconvenience for an adult to carry even hiding in his body!

Less than 35% people have access to banks and post offices in India. If one takes into account the Income Tax raids data for last 2 years, the cash component is only 6%including Jewelry. That black money is mainly invested in real estate, benami bank accounts, gold, silver and diamond. Those who are well educated and at the upper end of the wealth spectrum, have invested their black money to buy most expensive furniture, fine arts, paintings, rare scotch whiskey and wines also.

The informal sector in India accounts for about 45 per cent of the GDP and employs nearly 80 percent of the population. About 80 percent of the people in the country have already been deprived of their livelihoods for more than a week and there are no signs that the normalcy can return even in next 2-3 weeks.

Practically entire rural economy is in bad shape especially commodity business of production and distribution for variety of reasons including lack of education, lack of faith in banking and very limited access to banking. After Team Modi failed to push their Land Acquisition Act for the benefit of Indian and foreign corporate houses, they allowed FDI in food distribution in 2016 budget to pave the way for the big corporations to control Food Production and Supply Business.

First, allowing FDI in food business was an assault on the rural economy and sovereignty of India. India has already given up the control on communication to foreigners and with FDI in food distribution it will put the entire nation at the mercy of foreign companies. Team Modi’s land acquisition act to control the rural economy has failed and this latest “Carpet Bombing in the name of Black Money” will paralyze the rural economy and pave the way for FDI/Foreign corporations to control the rural economy and food distribution of India.

Already Modi has made a special place for himself in India’s history as he will be known as the first Prime Minister who put his hands in people’s mouth to take out the food they were eating and took away their profession of skinning dead animals. His anti-poor acts in the name of Cow and Hinduism was an assault on the poor of India that includes more Hindusthan other minorities.

Team Modi has failed miserably in last 2 years on their promises of free speech, jobs, equal rights, education for all, universal healthcare, infrastructure and freedom to practice religion of one’s choice. By demonetizing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes aka doing “Carpet Bombing in the name of recovering Black Money” on the 80% of the population, Team Modi is depriving them of their livelihood. This is violation of Article 21 that guarantees Fundamental Right, “Right to life and personal liberty”. Even the SC, in its landmark judgement in 1985 in Olga Tellis and others Vs the Mumbai Municipal Corporation case said: “No person can live without the means of living, that is the means of livelihood. If, the right to livelihood is not treated as a part of constitutional right to life, the easiest way of depriving a person of his right to life would be to deprive him of his means of his livelihood to the point of abrogation.”

Lastly, Team Modi completely forgot about the NRIs who supported them big time during 2014 elections and for bringing hired crowd for Modi’s rallies in New York, London, Sydney and other foreign cities. There is no provision for them to go to a PSU Bank’s foreign branch to convert old currency notes into new. Especially the NRIs who do not travel much to India and got Indian currency after paying in with their hard earned foreign currency, have no recourse to get back their money. May be these NRIs can use the old currency notes to make garlands for the central ministers and PM Modi’s future visits to their countries.

(The author is a social activist and a regular contributor to the columns of The Indian Panorama. He can be reached at davemakkar@yahoo.com)