Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday announced the use of indelible ink on those exchanging the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in banks. Speaking to media, he said that the ministry had received reports that “unscrupulous” elements of the society, who were trying to convert black money into white had organised groups of innocent people to send them from one branch to another in order to exchange and get Rs 4,500 each. He said that as a result of this, the benefit of withdrawing cash only went to a few people.
Although, the move has been widely criticised in some circles. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday went on social networking site Twitter and condemned the move. She said that this was a desperate move by the government to start a “black mechanism” and it showed that the government did not trust its own people. Twitteratis too seemed mostly unhappy with the decision to put ink on their fingers every time they exchanged their hard earned money.
— Critical Thought (@1_lavya) November 15, 2016
— Rajesh (@RJKO78) November 15, 2016
— Rahul Agarwal (@rahul143_rka) November 15, 2016
— The Old Wonk (@OldWonk) November 16, 2016
Would rather suggest to have unique bar code assigned to each account holder linked to his/her acct…
— surekha gawande (@surekha_gawande) November 16, 2016
While the government’s reason to use indelible ink to prevent certain people from converting black money into white is a brave act, it also puts a certain restriction on people who have to stand in queues for hours to exchange their money. The move, while effective can also be termed as an act of burning the house to catch a rat. Earlier, D Thomas Franco, vice president, All India Bank Officers Confederation, told IE that the demonetisation drive has violated the fundamental right to life. He also said that the poor planning and execution has also led to the prevention of lakhs of people from withdrawing money from their own accounts.