Demonetisation for behavioural change4 min read 12 Dec 2016, 01:03 AM IST
Throwing millions of lives in disarray to seemingly change their cash usage behaviour sounds primordial
Indulge in a small thought experiment. Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi addresses the nation on 2 October 2014. He announces that from the next day all open spaces in villages and towns will be sealed for public access from 5- 10am every day. The spaces will be guarded tightly by the Indian Army and will be impregnable. This jolts the 564 million people in rural India that are entirely dependent on such open spaces for their daily morning ablutions. There is tremendous suffering for these people, even leading to deaths. After many weeks of suffering, some people are forced to start using toilets. The PM claims this was a “shock and awe" treatment to induce a behavioural change in the 61% of rural India that defecates in the open and make India an “open defecation free" society. Would such a move have been lauded as a bold step to rid India of its perennial problem of open defecation? Or would it have been considered a harsh and cruel action in a liberal democracy albeit the honourable objective?