At a time when many Indians were on Tuesday evening glued to the contest thousands of miles away between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for the US Presidency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to catch the nation by surprise. He announced the demonetisation of the existing Rs 500 and 1,000 currency notes with effect from midnight – a few hours from the announcement – as part of his government’s fight against black money.
The prime minister told the nation that the Reserve Bank of India would be printing newly designed Rs 500 notes and introduce Rs 2,000 ones, which would become available subsequently. However, as details trickled in on how, where, when and to what extent they could exchange their old notes for the new ones, or withdraw the new currency notes, the anxieties of the common people only seemed to increase.
The move was kept under wraps so effectively that, according to reports, none of the banks — not even the powerful heads of the biggest state-owned and private banks — were aware of the decision.
So, how did the Modi government execute its surprise move?