Well who could have seen this coming? Just as we noted, the slippery slope towards full government control in a cash-less society is where Indian PM Modi is heading following his chaos-creating demonetization efforts of the last two weeks. While massive opposition protests are planned tomorrow, Modi remains indignant, as Reuters reports, “we can gradually move from a less-cash society to a cashless society…this is the chance for you to enter the digital world.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged the nation’s small traders and daily wage earners to embrace digital payment channels, as a cash crunch following the government’s surprise ban on high-value bank notes drags on.
Modi, speaking in his monthly address on national radio, said the government understands that millions have been affected by the ban on 500-rupee and 1000-rupees notes, but defended the action.
“I want to tell my small merchant brothers and sisters, this is the chance for you to enter the digital world,” Modi said speaking in Hindi, urging them to use mobile banking applications and credit-card swipe machines.
“It’s correct that a 100 percent cashless society is not possible. But why don’t we make a beginning for a less-cash society in India?,” Modi said. “We can gradually move from a less-cash society to a cashless society.”
More than 90 percent of consumer purchases in India are transacted in cash, Credit Suisse estimates. While a smartphone boom and falling mobile data prices have led to a surge in digital payments in recent years, the base still remains low.
Modi urged technology-savvy young people to spare some time teaching others how to use digital payment platforms.
But, as GoldMoney.com’s Alasdair Macleod explains, the economic consequences of Mr. Modi’s action are far more significant…
Two weeks ago, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetised an estimated 86% of rupees in circulation, offering conversion into a bank account or into smaller currency notes until 31 December, after which these notes will have no redemption value.
Together with forgeries in circulation, it could be over 90% of all circulating money. The terms of redemption are so inconvenient for anyone other than black-marketeers, that for all purposes $50bn equivalent of rupees have been eliminated from the economy at a stroke, pending the introduction of new currency notes.