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Cleaning agent for the dirty troika needs a disinfectant

The demonetisation decision has resulted in a dizzying cocktail of sorts involving various academic subjects.

Published: 10th December 2016 08:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2016 02:42 PM   |  A+A-

The Financial Pokhran, as noted columnist S Gurumurthy describes the demonetisation decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is a cleaning agent for the dirty troika—fake currency, corruption and black money.

In a single masterstroke invalidating the high denomination currencies of 500 and 1,000, the cleaning process has started with a high hope of eliminating the fake currencies and stashed-away black money. However, whether corruption would get eliminated still remains a million-dollar question in the minds of economists of both types—established and the two-minute post-demonetisation specialists.


The demonetisation decision has resulted in a dizzying cocktail of sorts involving various academic subjects. Political science reveals the sudden reorganisation of many political parties, which include those having diametrically opposite ideologies aligning together with a common voice against demonetisation.

Students of economics paint different pictures of economic reasoning with some brushes being colour-biased. Though the final picture will emerge after December 30, the outline sketch seems to be well-contoured.


For those studying Mathemat(g)ics, repeated assignments on writing the extent of deposits and withdrawals which switched from one lakh to two to three lakh crores and so on, it was a good learning to finally know the number of zeroes that followed ‘1’ and distinction for those who were able to quickly calculate the growth percentage in these daily figures. Newton’s Third Law of physics was visible in the government’s immediate plugging reaction to various actions of those trying to outsmart the surgical strike.

The chemistry between various stakeholders related organically or inorganically changed dramatically as well. The relationship between employers and employees, house owners and house maids and even between god and His devotees underwent a new chemical reaction. Those studying astrology did not advise people to take up Modi’s horoscope as many took up theirs to predict if the PM would reverse or review his decision. Opponents of demonetisation displayed a good knowledge of geography as many questioned the urgency in India when the black money from tax havens such as Switzerland, Cayman Islands, Macau, Bermuda, British 

Virgin Islands etc. was not yet brought back. Interestingly, the subject of philosophy integrated the common man. Philosophy lovers understood the guiding principle behind ‘Modi mission’ and majority of them chose to go through the inconveniences in the country’s interest. The emboldened and unified common man hopes that the nation’s prosperity and resultant socio-economic benefits would elevate the standards of citizenry. 

With this multi-subject driven academic cocktail, also lies the hope of eliminating corruption in the field of higher education. ‘The highest buyer is the ultimate buyer’ syndrome fuelled the capitation fees market in which the collusive parent-private college collaboration ensured the triumph of money over merit. Regulators have preferred to turn a Nelson’s eye and act as a catalyst to this annual capitation ritual.

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy estimated the capitation fee collected by private colleges, on management quota seats during 2013, to be around `5,953 crore, most of them in black. Although the figure may be less in 2016, thanks to the Supreme Court order on NEET, the problem remains only half-addressed.

With the 2017 admission process to various engineering programmes already started, the issue of black money may resurface. The hope of eliminating its generation through capitation fee needs a disinfectant in addition to this cleaning agent called demonetisation. vaidhya@sastra.edu

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