Nobel laureate Professor Amartya Sen has blasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to ‘demonetise’ high-denomination currency-notes and said that it betrayed the “authoritarian nature of the government”.
Speaking to ‘The Indian Express’, Prof Sen said that both the idea as well as the implementation of ‘demonetisation’ was akin to a “despotic action”.
“Telling the public suddenly that the promissory notes you have, do not promise anything with certainty, is a more complex manifestation of authoritarianism, allegedly justified — or so the government claims — because some of these notes, held by some crooked people, involve black money. At one stroke the move declares all Indians — indeed all holders of Indian currency — as possibly crooks, unless they can establish they are not,” Prof Sen told The Indian Express.
“Only an authoritarian government can calmly cause such misery to the people — with millions of innocent people being deprived of their money and being subjected to suffering, inconvenience and indignity in trying to get their own money back,” he added.
He further said that ‘demonetisation’ will be as much of a failure as the government’s earlier promise of bringing black money, stacked away abroad, back to India proved to be.
“The people who are best equipped to avoid the intended trap of demonetisation are precisely the ones who are seasoned dealers in black money — not the common people and small traders who are undergoing one more misery in addition to all the deprivations and indignities from which they suffer,” he pointed out.
The Nobel laureate also disagreed with the Modi government’s claim that the pain coming out of ‘demonetisation’ would result in the eventual gain.
“Good policies sometimes cause pain, but whatever causes pain – no matter how intense – is not necessarily good policy,” Prof Sen said.