Politicians invariably forget the importance of implementation. Modi is no exception.

The difference between a good idea and bad idea is implementation. You may have the best idea but it will come to nothing if not implemented properly. Politicians usually do not pay too much attention to implementation. This is because they are more interested in short-term results. Also, they are usually not held accountable for any loss that poor implementation causes so why bother with the long-term results of the idea. Third, they have the luxury of moving from one idea to another quickly are able to divert the attention of the people from the last failed idea that they had come up with.

Mr Modi has come up with various scheme and slogans but all have been forgotten. The last great idea was Swatch Bharat. Where is Swatch Bharat today? Nobody even talks about it. Even swatch Bharat was a good idea but no one thought about how it will be implemented. Yes, some toilets were built but how many of them are functioning today. With no running water available in villages, how does one keep the toilets clean? My driver told me that the toilet built in their village is no longer being used because the design of the toilet was not proper, nobody keeps it clean and it is very uncomfortable using it. So people are doing what they used to do before. There has been no change in the system where I live in Noida. I see the garbage piled up in the same place just like before. Nobody thought about the most important thing. If the government does not pick up the garbage, how will the system improve?

The same issue of poor implementation has arisen in the case of currency demonetization. Modi government has said that the planning was going on for the last 6-10 months. I don’t know what they were planning if they thought that they could have implemented the demonetization or exchange plan in secrecy in a week. It is a logistical nightmare to not only deliver new currency but also to pick up old currency all over the country. On top of this, the Modi government wanted to catch even a small guy who may have had 1 or 2 lakhs in unaccounted money. I am surprised that they are not aware of the 80:20 rule which would have told them 80% of the unaccounted money would be with 20% of the population. Modi Government should have planned the demonetization with the objective to catching the 20% with 80% of the unaccounted money. Modi government should have realized that it is difficult in the current environment to turn even Rs. 1 crore black money into white easily if some high value transactions like real estate, jewellry etc are monitored using technology or even banned for a few days. Technology could have been easily used to track high value transaction.

Today, I noticed another glaring flaw in the implementation of the currency demonetization by the Modi government. The cash is being distributed in a haphazard manner to the banks. Instead of giving a mix of small and high value notes, the notes are being distributed in a random manner. As result, I received all Rs. 100 notes while withdrawing cash from my bank and my driver received only Rs. 2000/- notes when he withdrew money from the bank. I have small notes while my driver cannot spend Rs. 2000 notes that he has received. His hardship continues even though availability of both types of notes was sufficient to meet both our requirements.

Here I would like to discuss one of the most important reason given by the Modi government for current demonetization, that is, it will reduce corruption because people will learn a lesson. Unfortunately, the poor implementation of the currency demonetization has already started the corruption and so called black money that has been generated is with new notes. There is wheeling dealing going on by bankers at the local level for exchange of notes. For instance, it was also in the newspaper that Rs. 4300 in new notes were being exchanged for Rs. 4500 of old notes. I have already stated earlier that black money generated through corruption by politicians, bureacrats, police etc will now happen in new currency. I have already accepted that some of the unaccounted money will not show up and will be total loss for the holder of such money and may serve as a lesson for him to learn. Whether benefit from this account was a worthwhile trade off for the suffering of 125 crore people, extensive damage to the economy and the perception in the eyes of the world that all Indians are cheats and corrupts still remains to be answered. Time and Mr Modi’s luck will tell and I hope it tells a positive story for otherwise we all are in big trouble.

Avinash Narula

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