The scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes to combat black money, corruption and terror-financing came as a surprise for many. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move caused a political controversy with Congress and other opposition parties accusing the PM of acting like Mohammad bin Tughlaq, who shifted his capital to Daulatabad from Delhi.
“The PM is functioning like a modern day Tughlaq,” alleged Congress leader Manish Tewari.
While this was so, the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes can be withdrawn at all the ATMs across the country from November 11 onwards, said Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa. He said that the Reserve Bank of India would keep an eye on the circulation of the new notes. Limitations of cash withdrawals will ease as soon as the supply of the new high-value notes improve, he added.
Welcoming the Centre’s move, President Pranab Mukherjee likened it to a ‘surgical strike’ on black money. Mukherjee, who was told about the announcement by the PM, said the move as a measure to help unearth unaccounted money and counterfeit currency, as per media reports. On the other hand, India Inc. too complimented the Prime Minister for taking such a bold move.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said though she was against black money, but she had certain reservations. She tweeted, “While I’m strongly against black money, corruption, deeply concerned about common people, small traders. How they will buy essentials tomorrow? The PM could not get back the promised black money from abroad from the rich so a drama to divert his failure.”
There were concerns among people about high-value banknotes being replaced for new ones. Serpentine queues of people were seen in front ATMs to withdraw money. While some returned smiling, some left in rank disappointment after the ATMs stopped working in many areas. It must be noted, ATMs would not function till November 9 and in some places till November 10.
Modi’s demonetisation announcement on November 8 would hit real estate developers and traders the most since they deal mainly in cash in a bid to avoid paying tax. Real estate is where thousands of crores worth black money is apparently stashed.
According to the government directive, exceptions though have been made on humanitarian grounds at the government hospitals for the benefits of patients.
Meanwhile, Sensex crashed by 1,340 pts, Nifty plunges 476 points in pre-open session following the black money crackdown. The Indian Rupee fell by Rs 0.23 against the US dollar to Rs 66.85 during early trade after the crackdown on black money. Besides, media trends of Republican Donald Trump’s lead in US presidential polls too caused the sentiment too.