Remember, Remember the 8th of November: Indians Recall Cash Ban

Bibhudatta Pradhan and Melissa Cheok

(Bloomberg) -- #DemonetisationDisaster was among the top trends worldwide on Twitter Friday, the third anniversary of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ban on high-value currency notes that has since been termed a “total failure” and a “draconian” act.

The outcry comes on the day Moody’s Investors Service cut India’s credit rating outlook to negative, citing a litany of problems from a worsening shadow banking crunch and a prolonged slowdown in the economy. While Modi’s government hasn’t assessed the impact of the cash ban, several economists and opposition leaders said demonetization devastated supply chains, especially in India’s vast informal economy.

Twitter recorded more than 63,700 tweets as users flooded the platform with old pictures, videos, newspaper clippings and comments.

TV channels showed visuals of members of the youth wing of the main opposition Congress party, who were arrested by police for protesting at the Reserve Bank of India in New Delhi.

On Nov. 8, 2016, Modi’s administration had overnight invalidated 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, rendering worthless 86% of India’s currency at the time. It also issued new 2,000-rupee bills in what it said was a fight against untaxed incomes and counterfeit bills that allegedly funded terrorist activities.

This week, some Twitter users paraphrased the British nursery rhyme about gunpowder and treason, urging Indians to “Remember, remember, the 8th of November...”

Former Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, who was abruptly transferred out of the ministry, in a blog post on the eve of the anniversary said that the 2,000-rupee notes are being “hoarded” and can be demonetized without causing any disruption.

Others just turned to humor.

To contact the reporters on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at bpradhan@bloomberg.net;Melissa Cheok in Singapore at mcheok2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Jeanette Rodrigues

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