It’s been exactly one year since the Narendra Modi government’s decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. While demonetisation, or “notebandi”, introduced chaos into the lives of many Indians who faced a severe cash crunch, many also supported Modi’s move as a “surgical strike” on black money.
Many experts and common people point out the shoddy way demonetisation was implemented, with the RBI issuing as much as 50 notifications in a month, further highlighting the government’s unpreparedness.
As many as around 100 people reportedly died as an indirect or direct result of the noteban – some due to fatigue while exchanging old notes in serpentine queues, some because hospitals, pharmacies, and others refused services in exchange of old notes.
The fact that almost 99 per cent of demonetised notes made their back into the system also reflects the pointlessness of the demonetisation episode.
On the other side of the fence are those who say the exercise will go a long way in tackling black money, curbing terrorism by choking terror financing, reducing corruption, enhancing digital transactions, thus increasing transparency.
So, after a year what has changed? Well, despite government’s tall claims, nothing much has changed, with the Indian economy, taking a turn for the worse. On the jobs front, the situation looks even bleaker, with the Labour Bureau’s employment survey reflecting a sharp decline in jobs after demonetisation.
However, people are divided in their perception of demonetisation as a failure, or if it will, indeed, have any long-term benefits. This is also being witnessed on social media with a slew of hashtags trending on Twitter – #AntiBlackMoneyDay, #DemoDisaster, #DhokaDiwas, to name a few.
Here’s all the action from Twitter, the new battleground for politics:
Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP denounced the one-year anniversary as #DhokaDiwas and even asked people to change their display pictures, to mourn those who lost their lives due to demonetisation:
Other people on Twitter were also unforgiving in their critique of the government’s noteban exercise:
Top 4 Objectives behind the #Demonetisation which inspired Government to Celebrate it as #DeMoWins. (2017) 1. Elimination of Fake Currency2. Purge Black Money3. Destroyed Terror Funding4. Cashless Economy[ Also, 1.5 million jobs lost due to Demonetisation ] pic.twitter.com/fJTIBUJykx— History of India (@RealHistoryPic) November 8, 2017
This little Twitter exchange which happened an year ago captured Demonetisation in the most perfect way. pic.twitter.com/cFf5rNIeoK— ♏️eghnad (@Memeghnad) November 8, 2017
A yr since #Demonetisation. Indian political funding is tax-free & anonymous. Foreign political funding has been made legal, retrospectively. Electoral Bonds make it easier than ever for ruling parties to take money anonymously. People suffered, politicians didn’t. #DeMoDisaster— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) November 8, 2017
1 साल हो गया लेकिन कसम पुलकिस्तान की, आज भी ATM के सामने से गुज़रते हुए आत्मा काँप सी जाती है। उमर भर का PTSD दे गए अरनब के पापा।— Aisi Taisi Democracy (@AisiTaisiDemo) November 8, 2017
Today marks the first anniversary of Demonetisation. #NeverForget, what the inept, fawning, heartless, servile, bumbling, sycophantic, apathetic Social Darwinians did. NEVER. pic.twitter.com/G3vrSjZzto— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) November 8, 2017
Unsurprisingly, BJP leaders, including the prime minister, have gone all out by relentlessly posting videos, columns, surveys, and so on trying to spread the positives about demonetisation. They are “celebrating” the occasion as #AntiBlackMoneyDay.
The Opposition, including the Congress and other parties, also didn’t miss out to remind the public of the government’s massive “failure”, that was demonetisation.
Dear @BJP4India one more suggestion to make demonetisation look good -send your news media friends to go to the families of the 150 dead & get them to say how the deaths helped the nation&are with Modi. Go on!— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) November 8, 2017
Govt says black money was laundered through note exchange after demonetisation. Who facilitated it? It was the same Govt.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 8, 2017
Demonetisation is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians, whose lives & livelihoods were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act.— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) November 8, 2017
Amit Shah’s income increased 300 & his son’s 16000 times. That’s the ultimate achievement of demonetisation. #BJPMoneyLaunderingDay— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) November 8, 2017