Skip to main content

Modi's demonetization was bad idea, is badly executed, would lead to institutional failure, warns "The Economist"

Demonetization as seen by "The Economist" 
By Our Representative
In a scathing critique of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization drive, top British weekly “The Economist”, in its print edition dated December 3, has controversially commented that that “withdrawing 86% by value of the cash in circulation in India was a bad idea”, and is being “badly executed.”
Quoting John Maynard Keynes, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics following post-first world war recession, “The Economist” quotes him as disapproving of VI Lenin’s demonetization in Soviet Russia in 1919 thus: “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.”
“Trust is fragile, and precious”, “The Economist” warns in its commentary titled “The dire consequences of India’s demonetisation initiative”, adding, “Managing an economy’s money is among the most important tasks of the government. Clumsy use of monetary instruments comes with high risk.”
The weekly insists, “More financially mature economies than India would struggle to cope with such a scheme, but this one floundered at once. Though Indians have until the end of the year to swap their defunct bills, the roll-out of new ones has been bungled.”
Pointing out that critics are “rightly” aghast, the powerful periodical which is most widely read among intelligentsia across the world, the weekly says, “Much of the wealth of those enriched by the black economy would be insulated, because lots of their lucre is held not in cash but in property, gold or jewellery.”
It adds, “Such heavy-handed measures could undermine the credibility of important government institutions. Fear that they might be used again in future could weaken confidence in the currency as a store of value—paving the way for some broader institutional failure, like hyperinflation.”
Underlining that “long-run trust in the judgment of the state might be threatened”, the weekly says, “A broad cash crunch and broken supply chains threaten a sharp economic slowdown... India’s ‘demonetisation’ is a cautionary tale of the reckless misuse of one of the most potent of policy tools: control over an economy’s money.”
“Some economists hope the money will be recycled back into the economy through a fiscal stimulus, which might help soothe some of the pain caused by demonetization”, “The Economist” says, though adding, “The status of this would-be windfall is uncertain.”
“However clever the plan looked on paper”, the weekly says, “It is both extraordinarily blunt and risky. Demonetisation will probably make only limited strides in shrinking the black economy while affecting all of India’s 1.3bn citizens, the poorest most of all.”
“In much of the Indian economy, and especially outside big cities, where cash transactions are most common and financial infrastructure least developed, the sudden invalidation of a vast amount of outstanding currency represents a significant monetary shock”, it says.
“Not all of India’s shadow economy—which provides real employment and income, if not real tax revenues—can migrate quickly and easily above board. Whatever cannot easily be shifted represents a potential loss of economic activity, and a drag on broader Indian economic growth”, it predicts.
“Similarly”, it says, “If a cash crunch forces small firms without access to credit to shut down, the eventual alleviation of the cash shortage might not lead to an immediate and complete revival of economic activity.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.