Abhishek Ranjan Singh
After a week the government’s ambitious demonetization drive, the dust looks far from settled. While largely people are calm and accepting the inconvenience as a part of their sacrifice for the nation, there are some people who want the scheme to fail at all cost. Baseless rumours are being spread to create panic among the citizens. The culprits can be anyone; political parties with vested interests, power brokers in the media, our neighbors who sold their ancestral property for 60:40 cash, or maybe an innocent friend who believes everything he receives as WhatsApp forward. In such a scenario, it’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff and also to identify poisonous weeds in your backyard. So we list down some points that you or someone you know might have believed as true, but which are rumours or plain lies:
PM MODI HAS APPOINTED URJIT PATEL RBI GOVERNOR WHO IS BROTHER IN LAW OF MUKESH AMBANI.
Check the more details how much Urjit patel capable to draw attention even before Modi becomes CM in 2000. In the early 1990s Patel had caught the attention of Rao, his then finance minister Dr Manmohan Singh and commerce minister at the time P Chidambaram, when he was selected by the International Monetary Fund to head its India office. It was known that even though he was born in Kenya and later studied in the UK and the US, the focus of Patel’s scholarly pursuits was India. Between 2000 and 2004, Dr. Patel worked with several High Level Committees at both Central and State Government level, including Competition Commission, Task Force on Direct Taxes, Prime Minister’s Task Force on Infrastructure, Group of Ministers on Telecom Matters, Advisory Committee on Research Projects and Market Studies, Committee on Civil Aviation Reforms, Expert Group on State Electricity Boards and High Level Expert Group on Civil & Defense Services Pension System. When the UPA Government in India came into power for a second term in 2009, it announced a ‘100-day’ action plan, which became a hot topic for media discussion. Surprisingly, Urjit Patel was the expert commentator on UPA’s first 100 days on Hindi News Channel, although he had no prior media exposure in India. Not many know that when Patel applied for an Indian passport, before taking up the offer to become the RBI deputy governor in 2013, his recommendation letter addressed to the home ministry was written by none other than Manmohan Singh, the prime minister then. “He is very important for the country,” Singh had said.
TRANSPORTERS ARE GOING ON STRIKE, SO YOU MUST STOCK UP ESSENTIAL GOODS IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD.
You might have received the following information on WhatsApp or seen it on Facebook or Twitter. It says that the transporters have decided to go on a strike starting tomorrow, due to which things like groceries or FMCG goods won’t be able to reach markets.
Truth is that no such strike has been announced. The same has been debunked by the Ministry of Road transport and highways.
FAKE CURRENCY OF NEW DENOMINATION ALREADY IN THE MARKET
A story with photo going around says that a vegetable seller claimed he was duped with a fake Rs 2000 note. This spread panic that the new currency was not secured enough. It turned out that he was fooled by a colored Xerox of the note. The headline of the new report was misleading that led to the rumour of a counterfeit currency being involved.
Take a look at the supposed counterfeit note yourself. While one feels bad for the poor vegetable seller, isn’t it too easy to spot that the one on the top is a colored Xerox copy? Just look at the edges. You don’t even need to look for further security features such as watermark. Missing stripes, incomplete national emblem and odd margins. Too bad even for fake.
NEW 2000 RUPEES NOTE HAS A NANO CHIP
SHOPPING MALL LOOTED AS PEOPLE DID NOT HAVE CASH TO BUY GOODS
There are some reports about shops being looted in some parts of the countries because people didn’t have ready cash to buy things. A viral video clip shows people in Delhi looting a mall. People are sharing the clip claiming the looting happened due to demonetization troubles. But that is far from the truth. The mall in question was a self-catering mall where card holding members take along the stocks they need. Yes, there was disorder due to some miscreants, but it was not looting. Delhi police too clarified it on Twitter.
SALT IS SELLING AT HIGH PRICES ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY
This one is perhaps the most rampant rumour, In short, some wise men decided to spread the word that there’s a huge crisis of salt in the country which led to further rumours about its price per Kg increasing to Rs 400. It led to some panic buying, but salt was not being sold at any exorbitant rates in the country.
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman herself had to step in to curb the rumours and told “ No shortage in the supply of edible salt.Baseless rumours being spread.”
200% PENALTY WILL BE IMPOSED ON CASH THAT WILL BE DEPOSITED IN BANKS
Various numbers are doing the round claiming people will have to pay high tax on bank deposits above 2.5 lakh rupees. From 95% tax on the deposited amount to whopping 200% on the deposit amounts. It is the rumour and is also a great insight about how the taxes will be levied.
BJP LEADERS AND THEIR RELATIVES ALREADY HAD 2000 RUPEE NOTES
This rumour has been spread. Now it has exposed that spread picture where picture of a bank employee was circulated as picture of a BJP leader’s daughter.
VIOLENCE OUTSIDE BANKS AND ATM DUE TO LONG QUEUES OF PEOPLE WITHDRAWING CASH
A News agency put out a tweet claiming the Delhi police got a staggering 4.5 thousand calls about violence outside banks and ATMs. It should be noted that reports or information by News agency is carried as it is by news organizations and any error, rumour, or lie will be repeated thousand times. And this claim by the News agency turned out to be hugely exaggerated and misleading. Delhi police indeed received many calls but not related to violence outside banks or ATMs.
MANY DEATHS DUE TO INCONVENIENCE AND UNAVAILABILITY OF READY CASH
While there indeed has been an unfortunate death, it has now come to light that some other deaths are being deliberately linked to demonetization by some in the media. For example, relatives of a person who unfortunately died, have themselves clarified that the death had got nothing to do with demonetization.
PHOTOS OF HUMONGOUS QUEUES AT BANKS OR CROWDS PROTESTING AGAINST DEMONETIZATION
While there is no denying the fact that there are queues outside banks and ATMs, many miscreants are spreading photos from different times and places claiming they were pictures of queues and chaos while withdrawing money. People belonging to political parties are even using old pictures of some other protests to claim that citizens are protesting against the demonetization drive.Some of these have been exposed by people on Twitter, but you may still receive those on WhatsApp or Facebook, a photo from 2013 Kenyan election to create panic.
INDELIBLE INK TO BE USED TO IDENTIFY PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE WITHDRAWALS
This comes from the latest press conference by the Economic Affairs Secretary Mr Shaktikanta Das. Even some editors and media houses claim this.The fact is, as seen in this video where the secretary is seen announcing the measure, the indelible ink will be used only for over-the-counter exchange (and not withdrawals) of cash for new currency notes. This is not a new rule per-se because even the original notification said that the exchange mechanism was available to each person only once, and not per day. Hence the use of ink only ensures stricter implementation of an existing rule.
COLOUR COMES OUT OF THE 2000 RUPEE NOTE, SO IT COULD BE FAKE OR INSECURE
Some viral messages and videos doing the rounds claim that the new 2000 rupee note is poorly designed and printed, especially because colour comes out if you rub it with wet a cloth. This too was rebutted by the Economic Affairs Secretary, who revealed that every note will have colour coming out if rubbed in that fashion. In fact, he added that due to a special ink used for pinting notes, the colour should come out of new notes. He clarified that even the 100 rupee notes, when freshly printed, would show similar results when rubbed with wet cloth or cotton.
SENSEX FALLS BY ALMOST 700 POINTS AS MARKETS OPEN AFTER WEEKENDS
The Indian Express tweeted this but probably forgot that Monday 14th November was a holiday for the bourses on account of Gurunanak Jayanti:
GANDHIJI’S PHOTO DELETED FROM NEW RS 2000 NOTE
This is probably the most stupid rumour but there are people who actually believe this. Just hope they had flipped the note and seen the reverse. This is the case with most older notes as well, Gandhiji’s picture is only on one side.
RBI PLANS MASS LEAVE ON NOVEMBER 19TH TO PROTEST AGAINST MODI’S BLACK MONEY CAMPAIGN
You might see this news on sites like, Fact of the matter is this news is based on a similar story from 2015, when Reserve Bank’s employees proposed one-day mass leave to protest what they termed as the government’s intention to curb the apex bank’s activity and intervening into monetary policies. This is a story from 2015 and has no relevance today.
So be alert and aware, and don’t believe such rumours. Also, spread this article in your social circle so that these rumours can be stopped from spreading and creating panic among the citizens.Please consult an expert with the exact facts of your case. Do not take tax advice from social media forwards. I would like to share a hindi poem of poet Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh:
जो है उससे बेहतर चाहिए
पूरी दुनिया साफ़ करने के लिए मेहतर चाहिए
वह मेहतर मैं हो नहीं पता
पर, रोज कोई भीतर चिल्लाता है
की कोई काम बुरा नहीं
बशर्ते की आदमी खरा हो
NO FEAR IF YOUR MONEY IS FAIR
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The Author is a Certified and authorized Tax Return Preparer of Income Tax Department of India; currently he is Managing Director and Founder of ARS Solutions.
Disclaimer – Before making any decisions do consult the experts. Author does not take any responsibility for misrepresentation or interpretation of act or rules. Neither the author nor the firm accepts any liability for the loss or damage of any kind arising out of information in this document or for any action taken in reliance there on.