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Above: Congress activists during a protest on the first anniversary of demonetisation, at Youth Congress office in New Delhi on November 8, 2017. Photo: UNI; (inset) Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: PIB

A year after his stunning announcement on demonetization shook the country Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (November 8) took to Twitter to declare his effort a success.

In a seven-minute video post he detailed the “benefits of demonetisation” even as he claimed that 125 crore Indians had “fought a decisive battle and won”.

On this day, a year back, Modi had declared the then existing Rs 500 and 1,000 notes as illegal tender from midnight that day and had given the public a small window to get their currency notes changed at bank. With 86 percent of the currency in circulation suddenly out of reach of the public, the entire nation was left in a quandary and in dire straits, spending their time queuing up at banks and in front of ATMs which, in any case had no money.

It not only led to hardship but several deaths and the result of all has been a two percent dip in the GDP and millions out of jobs.

On Wednesday, however, the PM claimed that demonetisation had served its intended purpose of fighting and curbing corruption.

While Opposition parties across India observed the first anniversary of demonetisation as a ‘black day’ and listed the negative impact that Modi’s move had on the state of the Indian economy, the Prime Minister, his government and the BJP went all out to project the “benefits” accrued by note ban.

The government issued full page advertisements in newspapers and sponsored television commercials to list the positive impact of note ban. At the same time Modi took to Twitter.

In his tweet, the PM said: “I bow to the people of India for steadfastly supporting the several measures taken by the government to eradicate corruption and black money #AntiBlackMoneyDay”.

Though much of what the Prime Minister and his government claims to be the positive impact of demonetisation is perhaps hard for the common man to understand and can be seen (not experienced) in data and reports being pushed by the Modi government through its full page advertisements and advertorials, this hasn’t stopped BJP leaders from patting their Maximum Leader’s back for his supposedly historic fight against black money.

Even as incidents of infiltrations by Pakistani terrorists into India and unrest in the Kashmir Valley continue to make news with an alarming frequency, Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated the advertised claim of the government, on Wednesday, saying: “Biggest achievement (of demonetisation) is that terrorism has been badly hit and the stone pelters which were in thousands have reduced because their cash flow has been cut.”

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley had, on the eve of the demonetisation anniversary, released a long note on Facebook that appeared to be a laundry list of what the government feels was achieved by demonetisation.

—India Legal Bureau

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