ASIA/INDIA - Catholic leaders: "demonetization only affects the poor"

Friday, 18 November 2016 economy   politics   poverty   finance   farmers  

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - A measure that targets the poor: this is how some Catholic leaders have judged the recent measure of the Indian government defined by economists "demonetization". In recent days, the government lead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to withdraw 500 and 1000 rupee notes (equal to7.4 and 14.8 dollars each) from circulation, because, as said, there are too many counterfeits in circulation, which favor the black economy and crime. Citizens will be able to deposit or change old banknotes in banks or post offices by 30 December. Then they will no longer be valid.
This measure has sparked a financial, economic and social shock: according to media more than 86% of the cash out of circulation, can create problems to businesses and families, create a situation of economic stress for the whole nation.
"This approach mainly affects the poor", notes to Fides the Jesuit Fr. Lourdu Raj, dean of Xavier University, in Bhubaneswar, in Orissa. "I am totally contrary because it is a measure of facade. I do not see any long-term effect even though some economists linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) think differently. Ordinary people, those who have no bank accounts, and even small entrepreneurs running small businesses are those who pay a high price. The government is making a lot of enemies with this move".
Even the Dominican, Fr. Francis Arackal, professor of journalism at the Amity University in New Delhi notes that "the measure is for the benefit of the rich and has a political purpose, in view of the state elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in 2017. It is a shame for the nation , given that this hits the poor and oppressed of this country".
The capucin, Fr. Suresh Mathew, director of the weekly "Indian Currents" in New Delhi, told Fides: "No one disputes the urgency of stopping the phenomenon of the money earned in black, money laundering or the issue of counterfeit currency. But Modi’s government action raises many questions. According to Fr. Mathew, "the government's war against the black economy will bear fruit only if it is dealt with at the root: we must adopt administrative and punitive measures to control the black economy and stop the crime that puts into circulation counterfeit currency. It is also important that the poor and the common people, especially in rural areas, do not suffer the weight of a sudden invalidity of banknotes earned with hard work", he concludes. (PA-SD) (Agenzia Fides 18/11/2016)