That demonetisation has been a disaster has been acknowledged by all, except by those walk through the corridors of power. But, now there is an additional set of statistics to back the sensible thought. According to a study conducted across 21 states and by 32 organisations, it was found that 80 per cent of those interviewed were against the move and 20 per cent were either in favour of the move or confused.
This survey which began in the first week of January states that 55 per cent disagreed with the Prime Minister’s statement that demonetisation had wiped out all the black money. “Only 26.6 per cent of the respondents believed that black money had been wiped out. Interestingly, with rise in age, the disagreement percentage increased,” said Gauhar Raza, one of the authors of the report, Demonetisation – Exorcising the demon at its release on Tuesday. PVS Kumar, Subodh Mohanty and John Dayal co-authored the report along with Raza. Economist Arun Kumar also contributed to the report. Those interviewed fell within the age group of 16 and 35.
“We found that 48.2 per cent of the respondents did not believe that demonetisation would have any impact on terror attacks, which was one of the major objectives listed by the PM Narendra Modi,” added Raza. Intelligently, at least 45.4 per cent of the respondents said that they didn’t believe that demonetisation would stop infiltration from Pakistan. Predictably, it continues and there has been a sudden spurt in attacks on the banks.
What inevitably happened is that, an overwhelming 50 per cent lost their trust in the government after the move, and another 47 per cent would treat their banks with suspicion, because more than 65 per cent of those interviewed did not see any politician or a rich standing in the queue. There was a belief that the rich were given money without having to wait in the queue.
During the research, it was found that small traders were the most affected. “Small traders, such as vegetable vendors, hawkers and rickshaw pullers, depend on the daily cycle of commerce to conduct their business. They couldn’t conduct it anymore and most have become daily-wage labourers,” stressed Dayal, a political activist.
Corroborating the images that went viral of snaking queues in front of ATMs and banks during demonetisation, about 30 per cent of those interviewed stated that they had to stand in queues between four and eight hours, while an additional 20 per cent, reported that they spent more than eight hours in the lines.
Contrary to the PM’s claim that farmers would not be affected, 60 per cent disagreed and 44 percent did not believe that demonetisation would lead to the betterment of villages and villagers.
60% of the professionals said that demonetisation had benefitted the corporate sector and 47.7 % of the businessmen believed that too.
People with ‘stacks of cash’ found ingenious methods to dispose of their demonetised notes – investing in land and gold, donations to temples, rerouting cash to Jan Dhan accounts, meant for the very poor.
With the introduction of ₹2,000 notes, storage of black money will be even easier.
After demonetisation, all political parties were exempted from the limits of exchange prescribed for the public. About 70 per cent of the angry respondents wanted all political parties to make their accounts public.
The total cost of recalibration of bank ATMs was estimated at ₹10,000 per ATM and that would work out to ₹2 billion in the country. If we were to include wages and operational overheads, a total cost of ₹351.4 billion was borne by banks for the 50 days of demonetisation exercise.