Book Review: The Big Reverse: How Demonetization Knocked India Out

The Big Reverse: How Demonetization Knocked India Out

“The Story of demonetization reads like a thriller. It is a saga which had kept the nation riveted — in queues outside moneyless banks and ATMs.
It was far worst than a run on a bank. Hundreds of millions of Indians were forced to drop everything to stand in bank queues from early morning, often to return home empty-handed and exhausted at the end of the day. Work came to a halt across the country as people struggled to withdraw the basic amounts needed to be able to eat and live.
The key protagonists and their roles, the almost daily twists and turns in policy, the nation wide distress an inconvenience, the sting operations and raids on the hoarders of black money an corrupt bankers – all made for fascinating copy and viewing, except for those whose livelihood it wiped out”

Why I Picked This Book?

Well, like most of the Indians I wanted to know why was demonetization done? Did it really help to achieve what PM Modi said at the time of announcing it? What is its impact on the Indian economy? and many more such questions. Coming from a prominent banker I assumed the book will provide answers to these basic questions and it did.

The Book

The Big Reverse gives you a sequential and systematic breakdown of the event and answers the following-

– How demonetization was done?
– The Role of Central bank RBI
– The previous occasions when demonetization was done, why it was done? how it was done? and its impact.
– How this demonetization was poorly thought of badly implemented?
– What was immediate effect on the common people of India?
– What are the broader impact of it on the economy?
– And finally, did we achieve the goals as stated by prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi?

The book provide you data on all the above points and tries to find out an economic logic behind the decision and its poor execution. While reading the book, the readers will remember the three-four months of sheer chaos. Every other day there was a new notification from the RBI or the government regarding the withdrawal or deposit of money in the banks. For months the poorest of the poor in India have suffered due to a bad economic policy decision of the government.

I found the last section of the book -Demonetization report card most important. While announcing the Demonetization PM Modi sighted  three main Goals:
1) Flushing out Black Money
2) Rooting out corruption
3) Fighting Terrorism by rendering the counterfeit notes useless

And there was a fourth goal was added by PM after couple of weeks was

4) Moving to a Digital and Cashless India

The last chapter validates each of the goals stated by PM and some other as stated by Finance Minster and other ministers in the government. Backed by data the author establishes how none of the goals as stated by the Prime Minister and the government is achieved by the demonetization.  

American economist Milton Friedman said, “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”  After reading the book you will appreciate the said quote by Friedman. A very well written and easy to read book to get an understanding about demonetization and its impact.  

About the Author

Meera Sanyal is one of India’s most highly respected bankers who stepped down from her role as CEO and Chairperson of RBS India in December 2013, to enter public service. She joined the Aam Aadmi Party and is a member of the National Committee on Economic Policy. 

Our Verdict

Go for it
– If you like non-fiction and books on general economy and economic policies
– For a better understanding of demonetization
– For data backed analysis and report card of demonetization

To get your own copy please click on the link below.

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