2016-11-09

Twenty-three billion banknotes invalid


Google News Germany - Nine headlines on the US election, none on India. India's PM Modi has declared last night at 10pm that all of the 23 billion Rs500 and Rs1000 notes are demonetized as of midnight. Banks and ATMs stay closed for today, some places also tomorrow. This is supposed to have happened as a blow at forged and black money which have been used for terrorist activities and corruption, all of which are blamed on activities “across the border”, meaning Pakistan. One trillion two hundred fifty billion Rupees of black money have supposedly been found recently.

Gives me the creeps, because this is not only risking to destabilize the financial sector and the economy, but threatens social peace as well and fires yet another affront towards the fragile relationship with Pakistan, a country in possession of nuclear weaponry.
In the evening, people have stormed ATMs, and today nobody is accepting 500s and 1000s any longer. Transactions in cash, even big ones like for cars or shop equipment, are way more common in India than in Europe or America. Many people don't have bank accounts, just cash money. They pay hospital stays and medicine, for enstance, in cash, and are now facing treatment being denied to them. Farmers delivering to markets cannot get paid for their food – which will spoil now while people all over the place cannot afford a meal. Many shops won't make any money within the next few days because they cannot refill their stocks, or their customers have no valid money to spend – like me. I actually wanted to spend ten thousand Rupees today on printing my book and getting a water pump for the farm. It has to wait another week – provided the situation is not escalating. I doubt that there are enough Rs50 notes in circulation for bridging the immediate need, e.g. for paying wages. Civil unrest or an economic crisis in India may well destabilize the global system – which sure has to happen, and cannot be avoided anyway, in the not-so-distant future. It would be a witty end, though, coming from an unexpected angle, provided that there are at least a dozen or so elements that are more likely to break civilization's back. “It will cause some hardship to you….Let us ignore these hardships”, the PM said regarding his decision.

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