Whether you are travelling, you are in office or even having a cup of chai somewhere on the road, one topic that everyone seems to be discussing is demonetisation.

While some people are hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to ban the old currency, there are several others who are staunchly against the decision. The division is not just visible across political parties but also among those standing in the long queues outside banks and ATMs.

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But who will be responsible if the demonetisation falls? The buck stops here:

Urjit Patel: The signing authority on the currency notes in India, the Reserve Bank of India Governor is getting a lot of backlash from people. Patel took over from his predecessor Raghuram Rajan just 2 months ago. While Rajan was very vocal in voicing his views on issues, Patel looks like an exact opposite. Though there have been a couple of press conferences by the RBI where they have announced their plans, none of them have had Patel behind mic? Sittig at the helm of the Central bank, should he not have tried to dispel the rumours and calm the nerves? He is, in fact, being termed as a Yes-man for the Modi government. Questions are even being asked as to whether Patel was chosen for the post because he does not raise objections, like his predecessor did.

Arun Jaitley: The Finance Minister has said that it will take nearly a month to fulfil the requirement of the entire country in terms of the replacement currency. But why was not planned it advance? Couldn’t this chaos be avoided? We needed more currency in the banks before the decision could have been implemented. Also, the size of the Rs 2000 notes is different from the cold currency. Hence, the old ATMs need to be recalibtated so that the Rs 2000 notes can be withdrawn. And his recalibration would take time. Was this not taken into account before announcing the decision? Additional kioskis could have been made to ease the flow of cash.

Narendra Modi: The Prime Minister is fully and wholly responsible if there is anything that goes wrong due to a decision taken by his government in the country. He has a lot to answer for. Namely:
– The deaths that have taken place due to demonetisation
– Crippled medical facilities due to inadequate cash
– The inconvenience that has been caused due to the decision, both to the customers as well as to the bank employees
– The farmers who have to bear the brunt of the decision that was taken during the harvest season
– The people who have weddings in their home and are feeling cash-strapped now.

Over 20 people have died so far after they could not get medical facilities on time due to an immediate ban on the old currency. Several people have also died while standing in the long unending lines outside banks and ATMs. Not just customers, bank employees are also severely suffering due to the sudden move. Apart from the additional load of work, they are also having to deal with the customers who are agitated due to limited cash in banks. Who should be blamed?

The decision was taken at a time which is very crucial for the farmers. It is a harvest season and liquidity is needed in the market to buy and supply the crops. There is none. Also, those having weddings at home are really worried. Not all purchases and transactions in India can be done via cards and online. It is extremely essential to have hard cash in hand.

The idea of a cashless society is an admirable one. It may play a role in reducing black money in the society. We are on our way to becoming a cashless society but are still far away from one. A cashless society is not built overnight. We do not even have the basic structure to have cashless transactions in most places of the country. Most of the shops in even metro cities do not accept card payments or take payments in any other way than cash.

India needs cash.

The decision to announce demonetisation may not have been a hurried one but is surely an ill-planned one. If it fails, the government and the RBI will have a lot to answer for.