The man behind demonitisation

Tags: Opinion
Anil Bokil from Pune and his NGO ArthaKranti Pratishstan has become a star overnight. When prime minister Narendra Modi announced scrapping of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes that night, there was a jubilation and celebration at the non-descript ArthaKranti Pratishstan office because the man behind this dramatic and sudden move was none other than Bokil himself.

Interestingly, the man who hails from Lathur district in Maharashtra is neither a chartered accountant nor an economist. Rather, a mechanical engineer by training, who ventured into manufacturing import-substitute components. After liberalisation, in 1995, Bokil observed that less-educated but skilled workers were losing their jobs or struggling to make ends meet. Banks denied them loans, as they did not have any credit history. So Bokil got together about 78 such workers and assisted them to set up workshops and thus began his search for solutions for macroeconomics.

Modi’s Man Friday did not have an academic background of an economist, but he wondered why everyone does not have access to banks, why they cannot get loans from the banks, why capital is expensive and so on and so forth. He consulted chartered accountants, economists, commissioners from tax departments and some industrialists.

Finally, in 1999, he came up with the ArthaKranti strategy and invited people to join him. Bokil first suggested scrapping the taxation policy, a flop according to him, except customs.

Next, he proposed a single bank transaction tax at the time of crediting, which can then be used to pay the central, state and the municipal corporation and the bank carrying out the deduction; withdrawal of high denomination currency; cash transaction tax as well as how the government can make legal provisions to restrict cash transactions up to a certain limit.

He made a power point presentation of these to the then Gujarat CM Modi and official prime ministerial candidate in July 2013 in Gandhinagar. The rest is now history.

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