“Hey Black Money! Time’s Up”
(8th November 2016 Tuesday 2000 Hours, Checkmate Black Money)
“To understand complexity in totality, always think in terms of 5W1H.” – Divay Makkad
5W1H is a well known term which stands for What, Why, Who, When, Where and How. Only when each of these 5W1H is examined and unraveled, will the whole planning and execution of demonetization gradually unfold.
In my last post “Modi’s Great 2000 Rupee Note Trick” I highlighted only a very minuscule part of the ‘HOW’.
In this post, I’m trying to explore the answer to the ‘WHEN’ as much as I can. In more layman terms, I will try to find the thought behind the choosing the time of Demonetization Surgical Strike (DSS). Not all factors could’ve possibly been thought of and they need not be, as they are at a much micro level.
There are 4 important caveats to be kept in mind while reading the post.
- Read the post completely to understand and absorb the magnitude in totality.
- This post (except Bonus Analysis) is not about Politics, it is about strategy.
- This is a highly speculative post written after some careful observation done retrospectively taking into account as many factors as I could, there must be several other factors which I may not have been able to figure out while writing this post. Your comments, suggestions, correction and constructive objective criticism are welcome.
- Don’t try to jump and question impact of this decision. The article only talks about why this timing was chosen with respect to maximum impact on Black Money.
(Kindly exercise maturity and refrain from thinking in terms of the impact of this drive. Consequences and efficiency is another subject altogether)
Now let’s get rolling with our analysis.
Timing of any operation is one of the most critical element of any operation. And for a bold decision like demonetization which needs to deliver a death blow to currency notes which have not seen the light of the day in ages and also currency notes which boast value just like Jr. Mehmood (Fake Currency).
With regards to the characteristics of a surgical strike outlined in my previous post on “Modi’s Great 2000 Rupee Note Trick”, the characteristic No: 2 states Maximum Damage to the real target (Black Money in this context).
This article aims to address the question “Why was the announcement made at this time? Why at 8 PM on Tuesday 8th Day of November of 2016?”
The subject is way bigger than I can assimilate as a whole, so I will try to make it easier to understand by breaking it into five sub questions:
- Why was this decision taken after 2 Years of the current govt. in power?
- Why was November chosen as the month of declaring the demonetization?
- Why was it announced on 8th day of the month?
- Why was it announced on Tuesday?
- Why was it announced at end of the day around 8:00 PM (2000 Hours)?
So the following article will be divided into five parts corresponding to the above questions namely:
- The Year (2016)
- The Month (November)
- The Date (8th Day of the Month)
- The Weekday (Tuesday)
- The Time (2000 Hours)
While answering the five sections, the only question I’ll keep central is “How the impact of DSS could be maximized on finishing Black Money with respect to that section?”
I don’t need to go into why this strike had to be done, is this how it was done or anything else. Also this article won’t talk of impact of demonetization. AGAIN, I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE IMPACT. It’s not true that all the black money keeps rolling at all the time. It’s stashed and taken out when there is purpose. A prepared hunter waits for its prey to come out of the confines of secure environment.
I’ll try to explore, if the timing of this mega move aligns with some of the other events that involve big black bucks.
The Year (2016)
First let’s answer the question why DSS after 2.5 Years?
If you can answer all the below questions as yes, you have every right to ask for DSS to have been conducted much earlier:
- Did people in Rural Areas have Bank Accounts (PMJDY)? No
- Was Aadhar linked to Mobile Phones? No
- Was there Direct Benefit Transfer for subsidy (PAHAL)? No
- Was there a pension scheme (PMAPY) for the poor? No
- Did farmers have crop insurance (PMFBY)? No
- Any Accident Insurance (PMSBY) for the poor? No
- Any Life Insurance Scheme (PMJJBY) for the poor? No
- Any Irrigation Scheme (PMKSY)? No
- Did poor have Debit Card Then? No
- Was there an SIT on Black Money? No
- Renegotiation of Tax Treaties and Automatic Information Exchange Agreements with Tax Havens? No
- Did the Tax Declaration Amnesty Scheme work with this much effectiveness? No
- Were post offices equipped to handle the ensuing rush and work load? No
- Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Amendment Bill? No
- Was there any initiative like Digital India to support the need for cashless transactions (This will improve slowly)? No
- Tax Collection at Source on Cash Sales exceeding Rs 2 lakh? No
- Pan Card mandatory for Transaction involving Rs. 2 Lakhs or More? No
- WAS THERE A STRONG LAW AGAINST BLACK MONEY? A BIG HUGE NO
But now there is The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 for Foreign Black Money
SIT was formed on the first day of Modi Sarkaar. The black money holder was alert and it wasn’t a good time to launch such an attack on target, specially when the target was ready.
Also a surgical strike of this magnitude demands a credible assurance from a person at the top chair for some time. PM Modi was new at the National Level. A DSS at that time and in view of the absence of the list initiatives it has taken in last 2.5 years, it was a sure shot catastrophic decision. Within five hours of announcement, it would’ve all been chaotic disaster.
So the above planning was done in the first 2.5 years so that after the initial hiccups of launching DSS, there is smooth sailing.
The Month (November)
Why was November chosen as the month to launch this DSS on Black Money?
- Biggest Festival of India (Diwali) is over
During Diwali most of trading happens in cash, it is a very happy occasion and such action must have been avoided during that time. Not only it would have dampen the festive spirit, it would’ve been difficult to implement the scheme as people (bank officials) are on holidays, lot of banking activity goes on during .
- Best Possible Weather for this mission
India is a big country with diverse topography and varied seasons. It may be pleasant weather in one place but it may be raining elsewhere and cold or hot in third. The weather generally in the months generally is as below:
Winters: Jan, Feb, December
Summers: April (Kerala) May, June, July
Monsoon: June, July, August, September
It was anticipated that DSS would cause queues outside banks. The weather has to be comfortable enough to stand in. The only month in which standing in queues for long time is relatively most comfortable as compared to other months is NOVEMBER and somewhat comfortable MARCH. But why not do it in March, why did the govt. choose November? Read the next point.
- Fiscal Year
Fiscal year in India begins on 1st April and ends on 31st March. The time around March is an extremely busy time for all fiscal entities in India. It’s the year end closing. People go for getting bank statements for filing returns and the banks also go in overdrive mode for fiscal year closing. Any DSS during the month of March would’ve crippled the financial system. So even though the weather may have permitted March was definitely not the month to declare DSS.
- Pushing Terrorists into India from PoK before winter sets in
Everyone knows that before winter sets in there is a lot of ceasefire violation to give cover fire to terrorists and push them in Indian Territory. This Surgical strike happened right before this was going to happen. The black money in PoK was turned to dust overnight; the preparation suffered a major setback as fake or real currency brought in couldn’t be used for transaction to get local help.
- Black Money Pumped into Kashmir to foment trouble again before winter sets in
It’s a well-known fact that for Rs. 500, the youths of Kashmir are hired for pelting stones on Indian Army. With curfew in place, due to this menace, Life couldn’t go on normal. The last possible large scale protest before harsh winter sets in could only have been in November.
- Betting on US elections
Betting on US elections on the rise in India
- Betting on England India Series
Cricket betting a key source of black money, SIT tells Supreme Court
- Just before Wedding Season (Controversial but effective against black money)
- Wedding Expenses
Vijay Singh, chairman of India Bridal Fashion Week, concurs. “In India, there is a lot of black money, so cheque writing happens less.”https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/global-currents/inside-indias-big-fat-38-billion-wedding-market-part-1-rohit-bal-sabyasachi-mukherjee-alex-kuruvilla-vijay-singh-india-bridal-fashion-week
- Dowry in Wedding
PM Narendra Modi’s drive against black money also attacks dowry system
- Expenditure of Gold in Wedding Season
Maximum conversion of Black Money happens in Gold.
Gold Demand to See Boost From Indian Wedding Season
- UP Elections and Punjab Elections
This requires little explanation as everyone knows how much black money gets pumped into elections in India. Elections in UP are a very grand affair. Garlands of Rs. 1000 notes are put around politicians. The elections in 2017 demanded a strike, if it had to be done, in late 2016.
The Date (8th Day of the Month)
- Salary Disbursed
Within the first 7 days of the month, most organizations disperse salaries of their employees.
- House Rent Paid
Most of the house rents are paid by tenants 7th of the month
- Monthly Expenses
Monthly expenses of maids, drivers, servants etc. are usually paid before 7-8th. DSS on 8th holds a lot of significance. Think of it, if this surgical strike was done on 28th or 29th of a month, how would you have paid salaries of your domestic help, driver, servants, etc.?
The inconvenience, which already is being faced, would have grown multi-folds for one and all.
Yes, they had to stand in queue to get them converted, but they had the money. Any other day and they would either had to wait for the whole month (on the pretext of not having money) or accept the 500 and 1000 Rupee note unwillingly.
So DSS could’ve been carried out on some other day as well after 8th, anywhere between 9th and 30th? Why 8th, the answer is below
The Weekday (Tuesday)
The first Tuesday after 7th (Significance of 7th in previous section) in the month of November comes on 8th. It appears that to assuage the ensuing upheaval, Tuesday was chosen. Why?
- Monday madness over
Striking a DSS on Monday would’ve rendered the whole week useless. On Tuesday as well it was at the end of the day only 3 days left out of which 2 were reserved for preparing the banks and the banks remained close for public dealing.
- Long weekend in fray
Given that any more planning would have leaked the DSS plan, full effort attempts were made in two days to somewhat prepare the Banks to handle the rush. The public would change their notes on Friday and over the weekend (opening the banks on weekend was already in plan).
- Buy time to normalize the operations
If announcement was made on Friday, the Bank employees, after working the whole week, would’ve been hard to motivate. If DSS was announced on Friday, by the time next weekday (Monday) came, it would be already 3 days (Fri, Sat and Sun) gone in which the initial chaos and mad rush was to be handled.
- Long Weekend
Holiday in some parts of India on 14th (Guru Purab) so another extra day for your bank to prepare after the initial chaos to fix any issues related to withdraw, deposit or exchange.
The Time (2000 Hrs)
Prime Minister’s Address to nation
The address to nation started at 2000 Hours (8:00 PM). 14 minutes and 42 seconds later, the DSS was announced. PM Modi whispered in Black Money’s ear: “Time’s up”
Most of the people were delighted and the magic spell was music to their ears.
However, it was a death spell cast on the corrupt; in a flash of a second, the chariot of Cinderella turned into a pumpkin *poof*.
But why 8:00 PM? Why not at 11 AM, 4 PM or 10 PM ? I could think of these four as possible reasons, more or less is what you can tell in the comments. So here are those four things.
- 8:00 PM is Prime Time and maximum viewership of TV is during 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM
The message has to reach maximum number of people and at the same time. Prime Time is the Time to do it.
- Most of the offices close (except BPOs majorly) and TDS paying people are at home so they can watch the address.
- With four hour window to close the currency notes in the night, the message went sharp and clear and there was no scope for political parties to get people to protest as everybody either rushed to get their fuel tanks full or to ATMs.
- The banks have closed by that time, so people can’t rush to banks and create law and order problem.
The whole article answers one pertinent question. Why not earlier or later and why, NOW?
This is what I could contemplate. There could be many more reasons for choosing this Year, Month, Date, Weekday and Time. And lot of factors mentioned may just have fitted in unintentionally. I not only welcome but anticipate your inputs.
In the light of the above thought process and the timing, it is evident that Modi Ji tried his best to keep the inconvenience similar to what people face in getting a casting their vote, Jio SIM Card, getting into Delhi Metro or Mumbai Local during Peak Hours, watching 1st Day 1st Show, Cricket matches or Music Concert.
Which is just a: Queue.
However, instead of realizing the far reaching benefits, we question the action and ask, Kyun.
The preparations as I believe could have been very limited given the factors:
- Very Few People Knew About Demonetization.
- The huge logistics planning would’ve given away the whole secrecy being maintained.
- Any delay in the arrangements prior to DSS, especially in non-BJP ruled states, would’ve taken much more time and the time window would’ve slipped by then.
Do share your ideas and inputs as to find the answer to this important aspect of the Demonetization plan, which is: WHEN to conduct DSS?
The significance of PM Modi’s Japan Trip
PM Modi made the big announcement on 8th which came into effect on 9th.
But he left for Japan on 10th and not 9th. If PM had left the very next day of the announcement, it would’ve caused a huge furore, distrust and created a very negative impact. It would have easily handed over an issue to the opposition which it would need desperately. He stayed for a day to observe the behavior and repercussion of the decision.
That one day was the only day this decision could’ve been reversed.
Once this juggernaut started gaining momentum, the only way it would’ve been possible to reverse is to invent the time machine. One day was enough to discern and ascertain that the movement has picked up.
It’s like a snowball effect, it grows by every passing minute.
To paralyze and rollback DSS, the only other option with opposition, deprived of oxygen (black money), was to eliminate the PM. The immediate result of this action would’ve been, emergency situation with immediate effect. But we must salute NSA Ajit Doval for his planning because he moved our PM smoothly to Japan and prevented any such eventuality from becoming a reality.
PM Modi did however, get in touch with all Indians through Media to assuage and subdue any ensuing unrest. He was in Japan, but his mind was in India.
Bonus Analysis (Political Implications):
With elections in fray, there could not have been a better time to expose Kejriwal. Though there is not much left to expose this defunct C
hief Cheap Minister. So what else did BJP achieve?
BJP has achieved something which many are not be able to see. BJP and Akali Dal are in a tie up and same is the case in Maharashtra. BJP knows Akali Dal is struggling and its a similar story in Maharashtra.
But with Punjab elections in sight, BJP needed a stone with which it could kill not just two birds but three:
- Expose the hypocrisy of Aam Aadmi Party
The so called Anti-Corruption agenda driven party opposes this hallmark and revolutionary step against black money (Their Hawala money in 500 and 1000 notes can now be used to make AAP topis)
- Accomplish breakup from Akali Dal especially with the “It’s not you, its me” break up line.
- Fight Punjab election on its own as BJP will be in the pole position after this revolutionary bold step (Similar story may play out in Maharasthra too).
Hey Kejriwal .. Go crib: “Modi Ji, yeh toh cheating hai .. Main nahi khelunga.”
(Corrections welcome. Will try to answer, subject to availability of time and sanity of the question.)
Tour de force (noun: tour de force; plural noun: tours de force)
Meaning: A performance or achievement that has been accomplished or managed with great skill.
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