India’s demonetization drive is “a big failure” and has put the Indian economy back by at least a decade, an influential Chinese daily said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November 8 announcement to scrap Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes was akin to “promising homeless people houses on Mars in one month’s time”, an op-ed in the Global Times said.
“The demonetization … has turned out to be a big failure,” it said. “This façade of demonetization is like promising homeless people houses on Mars in one month’s time.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that demonetization has put the Indian economy back by at least a decade, leading to job losses,” the newspaper said.
“Furthermore, it resulted in severe mental and physical trauma for older citizens who spend hours in bank queues, where some have even died.”
The demonetization led to an unprecedented cash crunch in the country after 86 per cent of all currency was spiked. New Delhi issued new 2,000 and 500 rupee notes in place of the old currency.
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The Times pointed out to problems Indians were facing amid calls to switch over to digital transactions.
“How then can India switch from a primarily cash-based economy to a digital one overnight in the absence of the required infrastructure?” the daily asked.
It said demonetization had only led to increased corruption. “This whole exercise is devoid of any sense or logic.”