Jindal Global Business School (JGBS) conducted a conference on “Demonetization and Emerging Challenges” in association with Queen’s University of Belfast, U.K. The Conference was held over the course of 5 sessions on the 10th and 11th of April. The aim was to analyse the nuances of demonetization’s impact across sectors of the economy.

The Inaugural Session on 10 April saw Dr. Tapan Panda, Dean, JGBS, open proceedings for the Conference, followed by the VC’s Address, Welcome Address, Keynote Address, Special Address, and Vote of Thanks. This set the tone for the first panel’s discussion on ‘The Premise of E-Money and Digital Payments’. The Panel Chair was Federico Lupo-Pasini, Lecturer, International Business and Finance Law, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK, and the Moderator was Professor (Dr.) Krishan Kumar Pandey, Vice Dean and Professor, JGBS.

The discussion revolved around how the emergence of Fintech and Online payment gateways will pave the way forward for digital payments. Dr. Pulin B. Nayak, Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, portrayed the economic downside of the move, stating, “The act broke the backbone of the rural economy, as the PM wasn’t aware of the lapses that could’ve occurred”.

Mr. Sanjay Phadke, a Fintech Consultant, explained the evolution of the demonetization process and how the Fintech companies benefitted with the bonanza offered to them.

Dr. D. K. Punia, CEO and Co-Founder, Project for School, drove the discussion towards the technical front and explained how technology as a whole is changing. His opinion was that “The change is for good, but like mobile phones, E-payments will also take time and effort to take off seamlessly.”

Mr. Ravish Ranjan Sukla, Senior Correspondent in NDTV India provided a journalist’s perspective stating how a sensationalism effect was created over the move by the government.

Mr. Vijay Sardana, Vice President & Head Food Security & Agribusiness, Policies and Programs, UPL Group, provided the discussion with a realistic viewpoint. Being the only panel member closely associated with politicians, he gave the political view behind the entire demonetization move.

After the enlightening discussion of Panel 1, Panel 2 took the event forward with their topic ‘The Fundamental Drivers behind Indian Money Supply’The discussion Chair was Samuel Vigne, Assistant Professor, Finance at Queen’s University. The moderator for the Panel was Dr. Ayona Bhattacharjee, Assistant Professor, JGBS.

The Panel Members were:

  • Tushar Arora, Senior Economist, HDFC Bank
  • Professor Bappaditya Mukhopadhaya, Professor, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon
  • Vinod Vyasulu, Professor and Vice Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy
  • S. K. Shanthi, Head, India Development Foundation (IDF)
  • Rakesh Singh,Chairman, Institute of Supply Chain Management – Managing Editor, SCMPro an ISCM Media Initiative

The second day’s proceedings began with the Panel 3 discussion on ‘Crime and Corruption’. This discussion looked at how demonetization could impact the scourge of corruption in India.

CA Anil Kumar, Former Group CFO- Titagarh Wagons and Practicing CA, said “We have to wait until the technology of our country becomes resilient. The time is not far away that we will come up as a financial superpower.”

Mr. R.K. Joshi, Joint Advisor, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Govt. of India added value to the discussion through his experience and commented on how well the move has helped the government to control spread of corruption considerably.

Next, was Panel 4 with the topic ‘The Impact on Civil Society’

Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, Aequitas Consulting, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commented on how we should change our views or perspectives on the impact such decisions can create with respect to civilians. He threw light onto how demonetization started putting extra pressure on civil society.

Subhomoy Bhattacharjee from Business Standard added his views on how the entire economy is getting impacted even though the problem lies with a small section of society.

Dr. V. P. Singh, Professor, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, expressed that he completely supported the move and finds it as a stepping stone to control the excess money in circulation.

Proceedings then moved on to the last discussion of the Conference. ‘The Role of Humanities in Demonetization’ was the topic of Panel 5. This panel discussed how the humanities are affected by such sudden disruptive decisions.

Mr. Ashok Vohra, Retd. Professor, Delhi, portrayed how the word Money is perceived by humanity. “Money is Profit, Challan, Fine, Fees, Tips, etc.” He criticised the media for their late entry into making people aware of the consequences.

Mr. Gaurav Singh, Director, PwC said, “We need to choose between the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The story affects humans the way they perceive it.”

Mr. Sanjay Sharma, Director, Healin Medical Institute and MD, Gepco Industries Pvt. Ltd., stepped in as a common man and explained how the demonetization impacted 95% of society even though the problem lay in just 5% of society.

Ms. Mamuni Das, Deputy Editor, Hindu Business Line, accepted that the media narratives play a vital role on how the normal public perceives policy moves. She tried to draw the impact created by various media houses who came up with digital financial literacy campaigns which eased the stress among people. “People are happy and did not resort to riots, thinking that black marketers in the society are suffering due to demonetization.”

This last discussion brought the enlightening conference to a close. The conference thus brought into light how each strata of the society views a moveas disruptive as demonetization.