Just a few hours after PM Narendra Modi announced the ban by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led NDA government on Rs 500 note, Rs 1,000 note and unveiled a new Rs 500 note plus a new denomination in the form of the Rs 2,000 note, the world media reacted with a bit of shock curiosity. Needless to say, tens of thousands of tourists and hundreds of thousands of globe-trotting businessmen are in India at any given point of time and as many are getting ready to jet down to the sub-continent on a daily basis and these media organisations would be the first to inform them about these changes that could well turn their jaunt here into a nightmare. After all, they would be the ones carrying the largest denomination notes and to find yourself in a strange country with all the currency in their pocket turned into so much useless paper, all these travellers would be searching for solutions. So, check out here what two foreign media organisations had to say about the momentous changes made by the Narendra Modi government on Tuesday night.
Amongst the first out of the blocks on covering this biggest newsbreak (yes, it is on par with the US elections in terms of import and consequences thereof) was the venerable BBC. It looked to believe that the step was not really well thought out: “Much of the government’s new initiative remains mired in confusion. It is not clear exactly what will be the effect on the money supply or whether it will take out a lot of cash in circulation.” Considering that the Indian hinterland is crucial to the implementation of all governmental policies, BBC added: “Questions arise as to the impact in rural areas. Will they still use the old notes or will ‘a black market in black market notes’ emerge?”
The Washington Post in the US reacted in a positive manner. It called PM Narendra Modi’s initiative as ‘ambitious’ and in keeping with his election time vow to initiate a crackdown against black money. The Post said black money in India ‘is estimated to total from$400 billion to more than $1 trillion’.
The Financial Times in UK also put out a story and said that, ” India just took another big step in its long-running battle to crack down on the shadow economy.” However, it quoted Eswar Prasad, an economics professor at Cornell University, as saying, “This move will at best put a modest and temporary crimp on illicit activities in the absence of other reforms.” It also quoted Tushar Arora, an economist at HDFC Bank, as saying that the sudden step “might lead to some confusion in the near term” and there was the possibility of short-term cash shortages if the transition were not handled smoothly.