Friday, 27 January 2017

Saving No & Spending Yes!



The elders and parents in the Indian middle-class households often told the children to learn to save and never to borrow money, which in today’s terminology means – avoid debt. And today it means – stop doing business. And it could seem ridiculous as the present world thrives and is driven by money.

With political pressure and criticism by the opposition parties against tall claims made by the Prime Minister about getting the black money stacked abroad in 100 days, has fallen flat. Then as a second thought, came the idea of getting black money stacked in India. Some bureaucrat came up with a brilliant suggestion, and told the government that saved money is actually black money if its not kept in the bank. It’s the most crazy and bizarre advice. Many people even in cities, small towns and villages like dealing and holding cash, and never in their wildest dream realised that one day we would have a government that hated cash. It was ready to disturb and hurt millions of innocent Indians in the attempt to catch a few dishonest tax evaders, who are sitting comfortably abroad and laughing at the government’s acclaimed masterstroke. The government spokespersons are finding it difficult to defend or convincingly explain this major policy decision and it’s repercussions in the various debates being conducted on different television channels. Though the government and some experts have praised the government’s demonetisation policy; it has been criticised by financial experts and economists in India and abroad. Recently an influential Chinese daily wrote – India’s demonetisation drive is a big failure and has put Indian economy back by at least a decade.

The elders and parents in the Indian middle-class households often told the children to learn to save and never to borrow money, which in today’s terminology means – avoid debt. And today it means – stop doing business. And it could seem ridiculous as the present world thrives and is driven by money. In fact it has become a part of our everyday lives. We hear – I have to pay EMIs for our car, flat, appliances, etc. The e-commerce sites are a big temptation for the young, making it easy for us to buy all the stuff we don’t actually need. It’s a burden for those who live with it.

Indians generally had this saving habit, even from their meager incomes. But the new generation has thrown caution to the winds and is on a buying spree. And this in turn has brought all types of products - consumer, durables and appliances of both Indian and foreign brands to the market place, very different from what we knew and grew up in a conservative society and environment.

People are buying and enjoying life. They are borrowing money from wherever they can - to learn, travel, have a good time, dress better and eat different food and exotic cuisines, without caring to know, that with the spending they do, it has an indirect tax component which hurts the poor as well as the rich.

The government wants you to spend. To further encourage it, it is bringing the interest rates down for home loans, car loans, gadget loans, etc. Apart from this, you are offered credit card, ready to lend you money instantly and fall into a debt trap.

Savings is no longer in fashion. The government is discouraging it. If you save money from your tax-paid income and earn some interest on that saving, you pay tax again on it. Digital India is the in thing. How far will it succeed, is difficult to predict.

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Picture Post:

Panjim, Goa, India
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