Indian government's surprise initiative of currency demonetisation (ceasing the usage of all ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series) with an underlying objective of curbing black money and envisaging a cleaner and transparent Indian economy in the long run has not only been the major talking point among the Indian media circles but created waves of sorts around the international tabloid.
The Narendra Modi government's demonetisation crusade is getting extensively covered in the foreign press and has evoked mixed responses from leading media houses across the world.
While some international newspapers hailed PM Modi's decision as a revolutionary move by the NDA government in cleaning up the Indian economy, others have been critical about the unstructured implementation of the scheme, which has created a liquidity crunch in the economy and affected the common citizens lives.
Here is how the International media covered the Indian government's demonetisation drive -
Forbes: Five days after the decision, Forbes has published an article titled “India’s Great Bank Note Switch Appears To Be Working – $30 Billion In Rs Deposited In Banks.” The article notes that a move of this magnitude would result in “obvious chaos”, but points that “so far at least it looks as if it is working.” The article goes on to call the scheme “rather well done, a clever plan.”
BBC: The BBC was more critical in its coverage, carrying an article titled “How India’s currency ban is hurting the poor”. The article focused on the long queues at ATMs, and the problems small businessmen were facing with the sudden paucity of cash.
New York Times: A New York Times talked about the crowds at ATMs, and also quoted an expert saying it was a wise move. “The plan, top secret until Mr. Modi’s announcement, was hailed by financial analysts as bold and potentially transformational for India. It is also a high-stakes experiment,” the article said.
Washington Post: The Washington Post in the US reacted in a positive manner. It called PM Narendra Modi’s initiative as ‘ambitious’ and in keeping with his election time vow to initiate a crackdown against black money. The Post said black money in India ‘is estimated to total from $400 billion to more than $1 trillion’.
The Independent: This Singapore-based paper published a glowing article on the move titled “Modi does a Lee Kuan Yew to stamp out corruption in India.” Lee Kuan Yew was the Singaporean Prime Minister for several decades and is considered the architect of modern Singapore. “Government leaders feel that the sudden move by the Indian Prime Minister has brought new respect for him.
Bloomberg: In an article published in leading American financial journal Bloomberg, Swiss global financial services company UBS Group AG said that Australia should follow India’s lead and scrap its biggest bank notes.
“Removing large denomination notes in Australia would be good for the economy and good for the banks,” UBS analysts led by Jonathan Mott said in a note to clients on Monday. Benefits would include reduced crime and welfare fraud, increased tax revenue and a “spike” in bank deposits.
A senior Indian government official even equated Mr Modi to Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. From making up his mind to rolling it out on 8 Nov, a new Lee Kuan Yew is born in India. It will be reflected in the legacy of this Prime Minister,”.