Arunachal Pradesh: Demonetization leaves commoners Demonized in Arunachal!


Normal life of the common people across India has been paralysed due to demonetisation, which given its effect till today, sounds like 'demon'-etisation.

When our Hon'ble Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, came live on a private television to announce demonetisation, it sounded like a brilliant idea to curb black money and terror funding. The whole celebrity fraternity went all out in praise for the Prime Minister for taking this 'bold step'. But then the question is – was India, with all its complexities and remoteness with villages that are yet to be electrified and connected with roads, really prepared for this sudden and unplanned overnight implementation of a policy?

Arunachal Pradesh, the North eastern most corner India, still has hundreds of villages with no banking facilities and ATMs. The nearest bank in some places is more than 100 Kms. A vast majority of the people here in the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh has not stepped into a bank ever, forget having a bank account.  With life being hand-to-mouth, why would anyone think of having an account in the bank is what a villager from Longding District told me when I told him to open an account a few years ago.

A mother from Changlang District, without bank account and having a daughter studying nursing in Assam, is grief-stricken because she cannot pay her daughter's college fees. All that she had was the old currency which has now become just a piece of paper. "My request to accept the old currency only fell on deaf ears of that college administration", she said. Whom to blame if her daughter drops out unable to pay the fees in time? A family from Lohit Disrict, that was attending to a patient in a hospital in Dibrugarh, Assam, stayed in a hotel there. They were unable to vacate the hotel as the hotel refused to accept old currency. They had to call people home. The uncle of the family went around nearly begging people and reached the hotel and the family vacated the hotel after a week of 'house-arrest'. Who will take responsibility for this harassment? There are many more harrowing stories of inconveniences. Alas, the space limit!

The Government's initiative to curb black money with ddemonetization has almost become a demon in a poor common man's life. There are already 40 people who have lost their life of heart attacks, or committed suicide or due to delay in medical attention because old currency was not accepted. Who is responsible for these deaths? No one seems to be apologetic about the deaths or the pain a common man is subjected to in order to get his hard earned money and his lifelong saving worth.

If what a poor house wife hid in the spice bottles or rice bags or saved in piggy bags, is black money, India does not need that black money. If what a father's savings for the education of his son or daughter is black money, India does not need that black money. If a family's savings for the daughter's marriage is black money, India does not need that black money.  It is a pity that one does not have claim over one's own hard earned money, needs to stand in line for days. Life cannot be more hard than to get killed in the line, trying to get access to one's own money.

But sadly there are people calling the commoners standing in line as scamsters while the real scamsters laugh their way to Swiss Banks. It is a pity that people compare that these poor common people with the army jawans guarding the country at the border. Does not this argument make the people dying in the line at bank martyrs too? One does not need to go through martyrdom to get access to one's own hard earned money is my humble opinion.

I respect the wisdom of the Government that thought cancelling the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes and introducing 2000 rupee note will stop black money. But sadly the Government did not give a thought to the fact that in India there is still some percentage which does not have access to any banking systems. And they too are proud Indians. And they too vote during election.

-By Felix Anthony for TNT- The Northeast Today

The opinion expressed in the article are the writer's own and TNT-The Northeast Today may not subscribe to the same views