The Downside of Monetary Crackdown
Most of you will bear me out on the fact that the various security agencies acting here in valley at one point in time (to a lesser extent nowadays) would crackdown on a whole village or muhalla on the pretext of catching or apprehending suspected insurgents. In that 'security crackdown', common people old and young were harassed, for want of the duty of the government agencies in which they had failed. How would so called anti-nationals come all the way from another land and not be traced till so late. For a border lapse or an intelligence failure or a policing error hundreds were taken out from their homes and subjected to search, harassment, pain and torture.
A similar demonetization drive has been unleashed in the country for last ten days. Most of the population made to suffer, for the fault of government not to have checked or identified defaulters, hoarders, evaders, resulting in a massive 'monetary crackdown' throughout India to catch/weaken these suspects. But all this at the cost of a common man, old and young, poor and rich. In this crackdown they may catch a few who they only allowed to possibly thrive.
It is on the pretext of tax evaders, corrupt officials and terror related hawala transactions that this action has been contemplated. But factually less than one percent of the money will have bearing on terrorism and about five percent may have evaded the authorities in taxes or being accumulated in corrupt practices. For catching such 5%, the whole population has been subjected to harassment of the worst kind.
No politician (but for Rahul's political photo-op) needs to stay in line facing the wrath that this measure has brought along with. They don't need to bother as they can pull on for months. It is the poor and you and me who has to toll in sun, storm or rain, to fight for getting a sum to sustain day to day chores. For an employee whose remittances go through bank, has paid and confirmed his tax payments, now having to go through another agony of sorts is depressing. Honest businessmen have a similar story to tell. Most of the laborers and the daily wagers who may not have banking transactions are suffering the most. Moreover it is not constitutionally and religiously necessary to have a bank account in ones name. It is an individual's right how he transacts with people. Many, especially the older people, don't want to go through the hassles of banking details and don't want to operate through banks. They are happy in giving the taxes to the government and keep their legitimate profit in cash or kind. They may have amassed a bit or more over years. Now they are being told that what they were doing is wrong and whatever their earnings it is all 'black'.
Both these crackdowns primarily tell upon the failure of the government. Rather than bringing the concerned authorities (who primarily failed in their job) to book and seeking explanation about how come these people had crossed over or those 5% have managed to evade the system the government is keen to harass us to the maximum be it in a security or a monetary crackdown. It is the responsibility of the government to have a check at the international as well as the taxation borders to see if wrongs happen. Why should I and you be subjected to an exercise that gives us trouble, pain and anxiety? I end with these wonderful lines that somebody posted on the social media: "To hunt the crocodiles in a pond, the entire pond has been dried, but the result is no crocodiles have been found, because they can live in both water and land. But only the small fish in the pond are suffering for need of water to survive. Ache din for the masses."
(Dr Muzafar Maqsood Wani is Consultant Nephrologist, SKIMS, Soura)