US and Demonetisation

A Bychawski

Is the US behind the demonetisation? Has Modi done this adventurist act at the behest of the US? Is the demonetisation exercise that created havoc in the lives of poor and commoners intended to rob the masses and pay the US multinationals? Is it really intended to weed out corruption and fight terrorism and Maoism? Or the BJP-led NDA government made the 125 crore of Indian people scapegoats by weaving cock and bull stories? During the cold war period, inter alia, the US spread its arms bazaar for profits. Now, is it a new ploy of transforming the digitised economy from cash economy that is aimed at grabbing and controlling the economies of the developing world in new ways?

"An open secret neatly kept under wraps: The US hand behind the cruel project of demonetisation in India", is the title of the report published by the web portal Asia pacific Research (APR) portal. The APR report brought to light the key players behind screen, the real but hidden interests and the prospective profiteers from this project. Here are some details:

The efforts to bring India under the canopy of cashless economy, are being done from the last January. The pivot of the dramatis personae is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The roadmap to the cashless economy was proposed by the finance ministry with the active cooperation of the former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan. The USAID had many agreements with the Finance Ministry in this regard. The core of the agreement is to put a full stop to cash economy and encourage digital payments. The USAID presented a report to the government—"Beyond Cash". The essence of the report is to eliminate cash system and to take the digital transactions that are just a miniscule part at present to higher levels. It is said in the report that 97 per cent transactions currently are being done in cash, only 55 per cent people are having bank accounts and only 29 per cent of these accounts are in the past three months. The report further said, "Businessmen and customers are trapped in the cash system. That inhibits them from transforming into digital payments. As only a few businessmen accept the digital payments. Outside pressure is required to get penetration of the usage of the payments through cards. It also said that high level efforts are needed to accomplish the task.

A month before 8th November, the USAID announced a project called, "Catalyst: Partnership in the organised cashless payments". The project had the task of promoting the process of digital payments in a comprehensive way. On 14th October, 2016, it issued a press statement. "Catalyst is a mile stone and a step forward the Universal Economic Consolidation between the USAID the Finance Ministry in India".

Alok Gupta is a key figure in the project. He is the director of the incubation project. He worked as the chief operation officer I World Resources Institute, Washington, which is sponsored by the USAID. Alok Gupta was also in the team that developed the notorious Aadhaar card. Badal Malik was the CEO of the Catalyst project. He worked as the vice president.

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Vol. 52, No. 26, Dec 29 - Jan 4, 2020