The move by the Government to demonetize 500 Rs. and 1000 Rs. notes has shook the whole country, and especially the world of those running a parallel economy. This is a landmark step taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards curbing black money. For long now, black money has been a part of a wave of plunder this country has been facing since independence.
Three Waves of Plunder
The plunders of India, can be slotted into 3 waves of looting:
Near West Onslaughts – The onslaughts from the Near West such as that of Mohamad of Ghauri, Mohamad of Ghazni, around 1000 CE and that by Nadir Shah around 1700 CE.
The Colonial Plunder – The drain of Indian wealth, primarily by the East India Company of the British between 1600 CE to 1947 CE.
The Home-Grown Plunder – The looting of Indian money by Indians themselves from 1950 CE till date
This 3rd wave, started soon after India’s Independence and continues to deplete the country. While the previous 2 waves stopped with the ousting of the invaders, this 3rd wave, being the handiwork of Indians themselves, has the potential to go on ceaselessly, taking the whole nation downhill, if left unchecked. The monies of the 3rd wave of plunder are equally large or probably even larger and more importantly, can be quantified, identified, repatriated and specifically channelized for the rejuvenation of the country as a whole.
While the previous 2 waves of plunder are large, done and the wealth forever lost, in stark contrast, we shall see how the monies of the 3rd wave of plunder are equally large or probably even larger and more importantly, can be quantified, identified, repatriated and specifically channelized for the rejuvenation of the country as a whole. At a national level, many governments have brought in respective schemes during their times, to enable the recovery of black money circulating at the national level, using voluntary disclosure schemes. These haven’t been very successful for long.
The 4 Prong Approach-An age old Indian ethos
It is here we speak of the 4 prong approach:
The age old Indian ethos speaks of a 4 step approach to correct anyone –
Sama – balanced education,
Dhana – incentivizing good behaviour,
Bhedha – discrimination to kindle the conscience,
Dhanda – punishing to evoke conformance.
Now that the above three steps have failed, the government has had to adopt the 4th one, Dhanda. The stick, Dhanda approach, is always the last, after all other methods have been tried out and when applied in this order, it has not failed. It has been a time tested approach with relation to human nature.
Carrot and Stick Approach
The present step of the government is not all about Dhanda though. It is a Carrot and Stick approach. In an effort to entice the evader to bring back his monies stashed away in the Tax Havens and not lose it completely, India needs to give an economic amnesty to the people who disclose and bring back these monies in large quantities, which the present dispensation has done.
All in all, this is a great decision, and should be welcomed by all, even though it has led to a few inconveniences. If we can work towards creating an inflow of this currency, back into the economy and work to direct it to revive the flow of waters once again in all parts of our land, in a sustainable manner for growth and development, then, the coming generations can look to a future with all round prosperity.
Five years on, since our book You Turn India was published, events are happening in the same sequence as we had highlighted. The people of this country will now have to act decisively and in unison, within themselves and with the government. It is time that we see things as a whole and make a collective decision on how to ensure the sustenance of oneself, one’s people and one’s land for posterity.