Shifting the Goalpost….

What is the best way to win a football match? Ask Indians now and they shall answer you in simple terms. Rather than precisely hitting at the goal, shift the goalpost to anywhere in the field  where you can hit at and do this shifting an infinite times within the same game. Then you can score an infinite times and be the undisputed leading force. And be the (apparent) winner.

Demonetisation is the perfect practice of this methodology now. A simple Q&A can demonstrate this.

Question:  Why demonetisation? What are its aims??

Answer(s):

First and second week: To curb Black money and fake currency by replacing currency notes.

Third week: Bringing more people into banking system thereby promoting  financial inclusion and  beneficiary outreach.

Fourth week: cashless economy

Fifth week: step towards creating a  complete digital economy.

It can be very well said that the above mentioned objectives are correlated and in a progression and that each one can be found only after the previous one is achieved. But the very basic question that arises in one’s mind is whether these are objectives that can be achieved within the ambit of weeks and whether the government had achieved any of these objectives or goals before moving on to the next (shifting the goalpost). And there arises a more important doubt that whether the government had really foreseen the impacts and repercussions of te demonetisation move because if it had, it could have very well given out this trajectory of objectives at the very outset of the scheme of things.

It is very saddening  to say that this goalpost shifting seems more like a face saver and crisis management exercise than being  a well thought out and thoroughly studied trajectory of public policy and has harmed the two most important elements of public policy namely, public trust and consistency.

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