India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended the timing of his controversial demonetisation effort on February 7.
As reported by India’s Firstpost online news site, Modi said: “Some people have said why was this decision was taken when the economy was doing well… It was the best time as the economy was strong. Had it been weak, then we could not have done it successfully”.
Modi also dismissed accusations that it was done in haste. “Don’t assume that Modi does anything in haste. For that you will need to study Modi.”
He said the timing was “perfect” because the peak trading season of Diwali is usually followed by a natural dip in sales and the business cycle reboots. Modi said he was fully aware that the economy would face a contraction for 15-20 days and slowly return to normalcy after 50 days or so. “We are moving in the exact direction as envisaged,” he said.
The decision is a “movement to clean India [of corruption and black money] like Swachh Bharat,” he added.
According to Firstpost, Modi also defended the many changes in rules and regulations and said the aim is to make life easier for citizens based on constant feedbacks or to outsmart the “looters” who are adept at subverting the system.
In a separate report, india.com noted that there has been a sudden surge in domestic violence since the country’s withdrawal of two high value currency notes. Based on a report released by One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) in Bhopal, many husbands have realised that their spouse had saved money without their knowledge.
“Husbands threatened their wives, beat them and warned them of consequences like jail terms because they felt a loss of control over their wives. The wives used to save money in the past, too, but it never came to light. Overnight, they became criminals in the eyes of their husbands,’’ said Sarika Sinha, regional director of Action Aid, an NGO that runs the OSCC Gauravi, in collaboration with the Public Health and Family Welfare department, Madhya Pradesh. Sinha referred to some of the victims who approached the OSCC for help.
In November 2016, the month when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ban on Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes, the crisis number of OSCC received as many as 1,200 calls from women out of which 230 needed counselling. Half of the women who called faced violence from their husbands due to demonetisation-related conflicts.
“In many cases, husbands objected to the wives having saved money without their knowledge. Also, they did not return the exchanged currency to their wives,” said Sinha.