World In View: India’s cash woes

From the March-April 2017 issue of News & Letters

India’s masses, particularly the poor, and especially poor women, are suffering under Prime Minister Modi’s four-month-old currency revision. Seeking to stem “corruption,” including failure to pay taxes, Modi without warning eliminated the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes ($7.50 and $15) that made up about 86% of all currency in circulation.

Suddenly millions of people no longer had the proper bills to buy food and medicine, pay salaries, pay rent, and so on. India’s economy is almost completely cash-dependent.

Workers were laid off. Consumption of vegetables and other foodstuffs fell. Both villagers and urban residents spent time in endless lines at banks trying to exchange money. The difficulties have been enormous and damage to the economy extreme. This is how Modi promotes “modernization” in India.

—Eugene Walker

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