Mangaluru, Feb 04, 2017: Well known Mangaluru origin, US based technocrat Bhamy V, Shenoy, states that India’s Prime Minister Honorable Narendra Modi, has been nominated for JFK Foundation, ’Profiles in Courage Award’. The contents are produced here for express information and action.
Contents of Press Note :
JFK Foundation has been giving awards since 1990 to celebrate individuals who choose the public interest over the partisanship, who do what is right rather than what is expedient. Though these awards are ordinarily given to living Americans, seven international awards have been given. Some of them are Ghana’s Kofi Annan, Ukraine’s Victor Yushchenko, People of Egypt and women of Liberia. In the global history, demonetization implemented by the Prime Minister of India on November 8th will go down as an epochal event for the reasons discussed below. The following statement was submitted to JFK foundation on January 31, 2017 to nominate PM Modi for this prestigious award. Those who want to support this nomination are urged to write to firstname.lastname@example.org and use social net works to spread the message.
Profiles in Courage Award Nomination for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
India’s Prime Minister Honorable Narendra Modi took an unexpected and audacious step on November 8, 2016, to combat widespread corruption in India, the largest democracy in the world, by implementing the demonetization of high-denomination paper currency. Demonetization was a simple strategy to bring 86% of the wealth stored in currency into the banking sector. By banning the use of these higher-valued notes, those politicians and government officials who have accepted cash bribes and those business people who have freely dealt on a cash basis only, without paying taxes or providing receipts for their illegal transactions, were put in the position of losing their ill-gotten gains stored in currency (“black” money). Terrorists with fake currency also had to curtail their activities.
The Indian people had to put up with the inconvenience of standing in long lines to either deposit their old notes or to obtain new notes. Despite the initial misgivings, no honest person lost money. However any one who deposited more than Rs. 2.5 lakhs will be prosecuted if they are unable to show proof of earnings.
Demonetization has not proved a failure as some economists have claimed. Within 50 days, the banking sector was restored to normalcy and the flow of money into the banking sector has added to the banks’ lending capacity. This may be why the World Bank endorsed Modi’s demonetization strategy.
India has quickly begun to move from a 98% cash-transaction economy to a more transparent and formal cashless mode because of this strategy. This rapid digitization (with apps like PayTm, and similar types of e-wallets) will result in India becoming a more formal economy with less corruption and more revenue to the government.
Great Political Risk
Never in the global history, has a country dared to experiment with demonetization to win the war against corruption. (Other demonetizations were driven by high inflation and currencies losing value.) Despite the likely protest not only from the opposition political parties—so aggressive that they did not allow functioning of the parliament for few days—and the likely chance of his party losing in the next election, Prime Minister Modi put the interests his country before his party. He took the greatest political risk of his life—especially if the opposition succeeds in demonstrating demonetization as a failure. Some may compare this to the political risk, Senator Edmund G. Ross took while defeating the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson in the US history.
This war against corruption was bound to have some collateral damage. Undoubtedly demonetization caused inconveniences to the poor and middle class. For those who had to spend for wedding celebrations, a cash shortage caused some problems. Some daily wage earners could not work for some time, and feeding their families became a problem.
For the poor of India
However compared to the regular lines the poor have had endure to collect their rightful entitlements of food and kerosene rations for over six decades, and their endless trips to government offices to get anything done in a corrupt and dysfunctional bureaucracy, the problems created by demonetization are manageable. Despite the exaggerated stories published by the media to highlight the problems, opposition by former Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, etc., the public has expressed overwhelming support for Modi’s strategy.
Some have rightly criticized the way demonetization was implemented with such suddenness. Prime Minister Modi made sure that less than a handful of people knew of this initiative in advance. However if more elaborate pre-planning had been undertaken, there would have been fewer benefits.
Some preparations made a year ago by the government did assist in the success—particularly the Jan Dhan, a mission to encourage people to open bank accounts. As a result, more than 80% of Indian families have such accounts. However the poor did not have the same inconveniences as claimed since they do not have money to deposit when they are not sure of their next meal. Just few days back before demonetization an act to appropriate any ill gotten wealth (those assets like real estate, gold etc by diverting black corrency) called “Benami Act” was passed by the government. This act was in cold storage for many years.
Prime Minister Modi deserves to be recognized by the John F. Kennedy Foundation for his courageous and strategic act of demonetization to solve the malaise of corruption in the largest democracy in the world. This recognition would serve as a model to inspire leaders of developing countries to emulate him in the future. This year being the centennial, it is even more appropriate that the Awardee is being recognized for tackling a Himalayan problem in the largest democracy.