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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Secrecy is the father of all corruption.

When any decision is implemented  badly it need not solely be a problem with the implementation. It could even be a problem with the decision itself. It could be that the decision is not meant to be implemented at all. It is taken just to appease someone. It could be just for propaganda. Or to divert attention from a bigger issue.
The  demonitisation  decision seems to open up other possibilities too .  Misuse of a popular concept for gaining political advantage.
The manner and extent of failure in the implementation of the demonitisation decision leave us baffled. More than 10 days after, people are still queing up just for drawing whatever is left of the rs 24,000 mercifully permitted by the govt for 15 days' sustenance . Banks are sweating it out working extra time and days trying to pacify the crowd with just a few bundles of  rs 2000 notes and nothing else in stock. Except a few stinking sticky bundles of rs 50 and rs 10 notes recycled from the stock meant for destruction. Those special groups who have been specially  picked up to receive indelible ink on their right hand  forefingers are still waiting to receive their rs 2000 ration. ATMs have been disabled mainly by the change in dimension of the 2000 note. Which is an unbelievable mess up , if not an evil design.
This brings us back to the real motive  for the decision. To withdraw  85% of the notes in circulation without arranging for a single additional currency bundle in any denomination. To attempt to tackle the situation with  rs 2000 note and nothing else in the range from 100 to 2000. Probably unheard of in  liquidity management circles. To implement the decision within a few hours left before the midnight bell.

Consider the secrecy angle first. No sensible answer yet to the question 'why not with advance notice of say 15 days'. Except the vague contention that  all black money would be whitewashed within that period. Even well meaning friends brush off a second question  'who will take a currency note which will lose value in 15 days ' as if any second question is an insult. The inescapable conclusion is that secrecy has skilfully been built in to facilitate corruption. Of leaking the information to near and dear ones and keeping all others in the dark.
Secrecy indeed is the father of all corruption.

Consider the colossal failure on the implementation front. There can only be a few conclusions. Either the task force did not get enough time to make the preparations. Or there was no such task force. The third possibility that in spite of adequate preparations the programme failed is excluded as admitting that option will lead  to dangerous speculation about the  efficiency range within which our nation operates.

Coming back to the motive. Accepting the assumption that there was no preparation worth the name  the motive could only be to cash in on an universally acceptable concept at an appropriate time. Yet another possibility is that sections in the govt worked at cross purposes to ensure defeat of the adversary . To defame a towering figure. Whose brashness even colleagues couldn't stand.
The saddest part is that not enough is seen to be done even at this late hour to redeem the situation. Apart from knee jerk reactions and egoistic reiteration of impracticable guidelines . And of course the senseless assertion that nothing is  wrong and everything else is political propaganda. Which by far is the most dangerous attack on the polity . Which is capable of probably drawing the first lines of splitting the nation's psyche vertically .