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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/19/17

India's Man-Made Disaster: How Many Will Die Due to Modi's Demonetization?

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Message Walt Gelles

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Narendra Modi, Author: Narendra Modi)
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At this point, every sane and responsible person in India should be asking: How many
tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of people in India are going to
die from hunger, starvation, malnutrition and disease as a result of Modi's man-made
disaster called demonetization?

Reports from the rural and semi-rural areas of India, from towns and villages,
already indicate that hunger is widespread because of the nonexistence of cash.[1][2]
This artificial crisis was created on November 8, 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra
Modi arbitrarily declared 86% of the nation's currency worthless as legal tender---a
draconian diktat taken without any prior discussion with his cabinet, Parliament,
or the people.

The so-called demonetization policy has had devastating effects across all sectors
of Indian society, crippling businesses and farmers, causing retail stores and vendors
to shut down, increasing unemployment, and forcing ordinary people to lose billions
of man-hours and woman-hours waiting in endless queues at banks to exchange
unusable currency notes or to withdraw the meager cash allowed.

But the worst-hit are the poor, the day-laborers, and the rural and semi-rural
working class who make up around two-thirds of India's population---over 650
million people. The majority of these people have no bank accounts or credit
cards. Nationwide, only 53% of Indians have bank accounts, and more than
300 million people have no government-approved ID which they needed to convert
their hard-earned cash into approved denominations.[3]

Ironically, those worst-hit are the people who helped vote Modi into power,
believing his populist rhetoric. Now, while they and their families go hungry,
they outwardly give lip-service approval to Modi's dictatorial scheme, which was
supposedly designed to root out "black money", ie, money that the rich and
well-off hide from the tax authorities. But inwardly, they are seething with
anger at what is being done to them.[4]

It is clear that India's corporate-controlled mainstream media will continue to
grossly underreport the havoc that Modi has wreaked upon the nation with his
disastrous, ill-conceived experiment in social engineering.[5] It is also clear
that the opposition parties in India are weak, divided, corrupt, and unable to
come together and put an end to this unfolding tragedy.

Massive relief efforts should be underway to help all those who face shortages
of food, medicine, and cash. Whether this means an immediate reversal of
demonetization or interim measures, they should be carried out nationwide. But
this is not happening. Instead, Modi arrogantly and defiantly defends his suicidal policy,
while his party has launched a huge propaganda campaign extolling the benefits of India's
supposed transition to a digitalized cashless society. This is insane, as over 95%
of the country's transactions are done in cash.

Many more months will elapse before the government prints up the replacement
currency and before the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have been recalibrated
with the necessary new hardware and software. Right now, almost none of the
ATMs work, despite the government/media lies and misinformation. While the
bureaucrats and banks dither, how many people will die from hunger, starvation,
or preventable disease because they and their children couldn't get food or
medical treatment?[6]

Perhaps it is time for intervention on a global scale. This issue should be brought
before the attention of the United Nations. If necessary, resolutions should be
passed condemning India's government for its monumental negligence, inhumanity,
and murderous scheme which affects one-sixth of humanity. Other groups that
monitor human rights worldwide should be involved as well.

[1] Harsh Mander, "Crisis of cashlessness: Demonetisation is hurting rural India,
drying up wages, household supplies and food". Indian Express, Dec. 24, 2016.
click here

[2] Right To Food Campaign, " Demonetisation Undermines The Right To Food And
The Right To Life"., Dec. 28, 2016.
click here

[3] Amit Varma, "Narendra Modi takes a great leap backwards. Mao would
approve". Times of India, Nov. 22, 2016.
click here

[4] Vanita Akhaury, "Demonetisation effect: Hungry stomachs are making poor
seethe to the point of silent revolt.", Nov. 19, 2016.
click here

[5] "Demonitization 2016: Arrogance, Audacious & Atrocious". Nov. 30, 2016.
click here

[6] A petition calling for the reversal of demonetization and for Prime Minister Modi
to step down can be found at:
click here

This article was published at

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Walt Gelles is the author of Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book (Avery/Penguin Random House). His articles and political verse have been published at,, OpEdNews, and other websites.

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