Demonetisation needs to be examined and debated, primarily and above all, for its economic merits and consequences.

As the Narendra Modi government marked a year since demonetisation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the decision as a step that was “morally and ethically correct” and hence, “politically correct”. All politics, of course, draws from a sense of morality and political action is underwritten by a moral code. Having said that, however, demonetisation was also an administrative decision, with stated aims and tangible goals, and large consequences. To argue now that it needs to be understood only, or primarily, in moral and ethical terms can be read as the government’s attempt to insulate it from evidence-based argument or questioning.

While announcing the decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes as legal tender overnight, PM Modi had given the reasons behind the move and spelt out its stated objectives. Terrorism, corruption and black money, he said at the time, were “festering sores, holding back India in the race towards development”. Currency notes of large denominations facilitated these transactions and demonetisation, he argued, would bring them to a close. In one stroke, the decision invalidated 86 per cent of the currency in circulation, severely stressing trade and business, especially small business. The government has since produced data to support its claims that demonetisation has been a success. It has also shifted the goal posts — it now says that demonetisation was about turning India into a less-cash economy. It is only reasonable that the claims and counter-claims be vigorously debated so that the people can arrive at an informed view of the impact of this momentous decision, and moving on, the right lessons can be learnt from it. By casting it as a moral mission, however, the government is only giving itself more room to ignore the demands of making a more credible case for its actions.

Sections of the ruling party and government had adopted a similar approach in the debate about nationalism in university campuses. A wide and nuanced discussion of freedom of expression and its boundaries in a constitutional democracy was reduced to a war of labels — “national” versus “anti-national”. Those who portrayed themselves as the custodians of nationalism and dispensers of certificates of patriotism to others assumed a moral halo. The Constitution, not the messianic vision, is the foundation on which the nation is built and government policies must pass the test of constitutional values. This calls, first of all, for a free and open public discussion. Jaitley, a fine parliamentarian, is surely aware of this. It is surprising, then, that the finance minister sought to mount his defence of demonetisation by painting it as a moral mission.


1)Nuance (Noun) (अति सूक्ष्म अंतर ):  nu-ance
Meaning - a subtle distinction or variation 
Synonyms -  shade, nicety, distinction 
Antonyms - blatancy,  imprecision
Sentence -  To solve the puzzle in the newspaper, you need to identify the nuance in the two seemingly identical pictures.

2) Fester (सड़ना) (Verb):  fes-ter

Meaning - –to worsen as time passes
Synonyms - Rot, rankle, decay
Antonyms -Heal, ease, amendment
Example - The wound will fester and become infected if antibiotics are not quickly applied.

3) Halo (प्रभामंडल)  (Noun):ha-lo
Meaning -  a circle of light shown around or above the head of a saint or holy person to represent their holiness.
Synonyms - nimbus, aureole, aureola, glory,  corona, aura
Example - He could neither put a halo of imagination about her, nor could he conceive one degraded thought of the creatur

4) Vigorously  (ज़ोरों के साथ) (Adverb):   vig-or-ous-ly
Meaning - in a way that involves physical strength, effort, or energy; strenuously.
Synonyms - energetically, powerfully, forcefully
Antonyms -  slowly, sluggishly
Example - Both politicians campaigned vigorously, showing their strength and ruthlessness in their hateful T.V. ads.

5) Dispenser  (वितरक,औषध वितरक)  (Adjective):-  one-off
Meaning -  A person or thing who distribute or provide (a service or information) to a number of people.
Synonyms -Allocator, distributor
Antonyms-  Collector , prohibitor
Example -A supreme court judge is the protector of the weak and dispenser of justice.

6) Forge (बनाना)(Adjective) : forge

Meaning - make or shape (a metal object) by heating it or hammering it ,create (something) strong, enduring, or successful.
Synonyms -  build, construct, create.
Antonyms -Abolish , destroy , eradicate
Example -  The President is determined to forge a new relationship with the Chinese Premier in order to improve trade between the two nations.

7) Nonetheless (बहरहाल) (Adverb):   nun-the-less

Meaning - in spite of that
Synonyms -   Having said that ,however, despite that.
Example - The rally, which the government had declared illegal, was nonetheless attended by 6000 people.

8) Come up with  (प्रस्ताव)  (Phrasal verb)  

Meaning - produce (something), especially when pressured or challenged.
Synonyms -  propose, put forward, present/introduce.
Antonyms - Deny , dissuade ,pass by . miss
Example -The police interviewed a number of witnesses, but weren't able to come up with any new information.

9) At the expense of  ( बलिदान)(Phrase) 

Meaning -so as to cause harm to or neglect of.
Synonyms - sacrifice, loss, neglect of.
Example - I chose to repair the roof at the expense of replacing the carp

Now try to answer the following questions, which are based on the given article :
  • What were the main reasons behind the introduction of demonetisation move to the country according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as mentioned in the passage ?
Given below are some words to check your vocabulary? Make sentences with those words in the comment section which will be reviewed by us:
  • stressing 
  • Credible
  • Assumed
  • Demonetisation
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