Indians brilliant in cyber crime and hence the spurt in digital fraud, see?

Demonetisation was to take care of corrupt cash and usher in an era of digital payments. But now NSA Ajit Doval tells us it is our Jugaad that has led to a phenomenal increase in digital fraud

Indians brilliant in cyber crime and hence the spurt in digital fraud, see?

Ranjona Banerji

Give me 50 days! Punish me! Burn me alive but Modi wouldn’t back off!

This was in 2016. “Choked with emotion” as one compassion-filled news report noted, Narendra Modi defended his Demonetisation idea, about a week after he crippled the Indian economy.

But at last we have realized the underlying scheme behind demonetization. It was indeed a clever move to give Indian crooks a new lease of life. Take away the cash with one hand, introduce the digital with the other.

Or else, why now, has one of Modi’s most trusted aides, Ajit Doval, informed that financial fraud has seen an exponential increase thanks to “dependence on digital payments”? Doval plays a number of roles in the Government, from eating biryani on deserted streets to being the National Security Adviser. Maybe that’s the same role, actually. Anyway, possibly he knows his crime from his choices between mutton or chicken or veg.

If you remember the end of 2016 at all, India was supposed to go all digital financially according to both Modi and the late Arun Jaitley. Cash was bad and wicked, only used by thieves, charlatans, crooks, the corrupt, all non-BJP politicians. While Modi wept, choked with emotion asking to be burnt alive, who was it who also cackled in glee at the notion that households had mothers dying, but no money, daughters to be wedded, but no money, thanks to the brilliant Demonetization idea?

And what was India told after 50 days went by and it was clear that the first three goals of demonetization – end corruption, end counterfeit currency and end terrorism – had failed? That the actual goal was to make India cashless and digital? That’s why over 85 per cent of India’s legal tender was removed from the market and that’s why the Prime Minister’s face appeared on an advertisement for the digital wallet scheme, PayTM, the day after he announced his scheme.

But they forgot about the job scheme for cyber crooks.

Doval has blamed the COVID19 pandemic for the increase in digital fraud. But he is being grossly unfair to his lord and master and he should give credit where it’s due: a 500 per cent increase in cybercrime is a testament to our ingenuity surely?

Don’t smirk. I know you think I don’t applaud enough when it comes to our Dear Leader. And that I often claim that no matter what unmitigated nonsense the Modi government comes up with, large sections of the Indian electorate will sway in euphoric and thoughtless sycophancy. Instead, this is me, full of praise!

How can I not? Look at the way fans have brushed up on effective cybercrime methods. Don’t you now look forward to all those “praise India” Youtube videos which people will send around on Whatsapp, informing us how good Indians are at “jugaad” cybercrime? Modi ji collapsed the economy and Indian crooks – who had been eliminated by demonetization of course – were reincarnated and jumped in to help the cause with their Skill India, Made in India talents.

Fast forward from 2016 to 2020. And a fantastic huge jump in cybercrime according to the National Security Adviser. A contracted economy. A collapsed job market. People struggling to survive. And, back to corruption. Only this time, although they will try, it’s too late to blame earlier incumbents. For the past six years, we’ve had a new set of crooks in charge who must be complimented. And isn’t it heartening to learn how they’ve given such a huge impetus to a whole new type of crooks and crookery?

If you are completely anti-national and do not want to celebrate Made in India cyber crookery fully enabled by brilliant demonetization, the panacea apparently is to “be cautious”. That’s from the same conference where Doval explained how clever us brilliant Indians were at digital fakery.

At no point in time when Modi announced demonetization or when Jaitley recharacterized it as a pro-digital move or even when digital wallets became all the rage and the Modi Government launched its own digital payment app, did anyone ask Indians to be cautious.

Go for it, they said. This is the future they said. Cash is for criminals of other political parties, other politicians and generally wicked people. The digital world is here for us. It is the future. Embrace it now.

Well, go forth and get cheated.

Or be cautious next time you vote.

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