Mumbai: Anklesaria Aiyar on Saturday criticised the note ban, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “bungled on a big scale” so far but added he may still come out successful with some doles to the poor.
He also warned that nobody has fully gauged demonetisation’s impact on the economy.
Blaming Modi’s “lack of trust” in anyone for the poor handling of the demonetisation move, he said it was done in great secrecy with even his own senior Cabinet colleagues not kept in the loop.
“Modi does not trust his own Cabinet or anyone else, due to which he was incapable of preparing it well. The result is that it has been bungled on a very big scale,” Aiyar said at Times Lit Fest 2016 which began here.
Stating that it could have been done much better, he said Modi could have first printed Rs 5,000 and 10,000 notes and then demonetised those currencies.
Another way could have been to cite inflation and print a series of Rs 2,000 notes. This would have ensured availability of enough notes. But he did not discuss with anyone “so it has been bungled on a major scale,” he said.
Terming Modi as an incrementalist and not a good reformer, Aiyar said the Prime Minister “has never been as good as his great supporters claim or as bad as his worst critics claim.”
“He has always been somewhere in the middle and not a radical reformer. Basically, he is an incrementalist which is evident from the fact that he has taken a large number of Congress programmes and renamed them and pushed them,” the ‘Economic Times’ columnist said.
But he admitted “incrementalism has some big political advantages as radical changes create a lot of losers, while incremental changes don’t create many winners to begin with but the losers are also small. But he has done enough in the first two-and–a-half years to get re-elected. I think he is there for at least next 10 years.”
On the political impact of note ban, pointing to the results of recent local body polls in Gujarat and Maharashtra (which went BJP way), Aiyar said, “the voters have given their verdict to Modi. There was no question that demonetisation was a major issue in these elections.”
Stating the economic impact of cash recall exercise is “much more adverse than people have realised,” he said every financial-induced recession is much worse and difficult to recover from. “Some people think by December we would return to normal. I would say at least for six months the economy is in trouble and there would be recessionary tendency.”
First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 12:39 IST