The strife of the people after demonetisation reflects upon the ills of our society. Why was there not much outcry over the farmers’ suicides? asks Anil Bokil, founder of “Arthakranti Pratishthan” whose proposal for economic rejuvenation formed the basis of demonetisations.
The credit for demonetisation is being given to you. How did it all start?
We have been suggesting several ideas for economic rejuvenation and as part of it, we have been meeting several people, telling them about the “Arthakranti Proposal”. In 2013, we had met the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. The engagement continued even after he became the PM. Some eight months back, we were asked to conduct a workshop on our proposal.
People are suffering due to the decision.
The sufferings of people are temporary. We are happy that the surgery has begun, and we all know that surgeries are painful. Several incidents of farmer suicides were screaming at us and it showed the flaws in our economy. If we had continued with the same economics, we would have become a dead nation.
Does this mean that, even if it is not in line with your proposal, you support it?
Yes. The fact that over Rs 3 lakh crore have come back to the banking system in one week tells the problem’s enormity.
But, the common man is confused.
We call this situation financial illiteracy and we have been working to solve it. Money had become a ‘commodity’ for the people. And now that the commodity is being taken away, they are confused. Once they start seeing money as a medium, their confusion would go away. People who understand the difference should help others. The government has given a 40-day window to get old currency exchanged. Had the people cooperated with the government and stayed calm, the situation would have been different.
Tell us how Arthakranti started.
In 1998, I was working for a factory in Aurangabad when recession struck. I wanted to know why this happened and after talking to several factory owners, labourers and union leaders, I concluded that no one was at fault. I gradually realised that the problem was not with the people but with the economic model that we have adopted. The way we are thinking about money could have led us to only one way, where we have reached. I then invited my friends over for brainstorming sessions. Eventually, our ideas became “Arthakranti Proposal” and in 2005, we formed the “Arthakranti Pratishthan”.
What exactly is this “Arthakranti Proposal”?
If we have a system, where there is abundance of capital (money), everyone will have opportunity to focus on more valuable goals. If benefits of following the system are much higher than the cost involved and cost saved by escaping the system is meagre compared to the risk associated, more people will follow the system and enjoy benefits of honesty. It is a way to reach this destination following five action points. The first is to withdraw the existing tax system. Then a single point tax would be levied. The idea is to route maximum transactions through banking which would attract certain deduction in appropriate percentage as transaction tax. The next step would be withdrawal of high-value currency. Next would be to put a cap on cash transactions. All transactions over Rs 2,000 should be routed through banks. Also, these would be exempted from transaction tax.
The government has taken the first step. Do you think the rest will follow?
Yes. The demonetisation decision has definitely raised our hopes.