Industry Remains Critical, Tourist Arrivals Decline

Demonetisation

E M Najeeb, CMD, ATE Group & ED, KIMS healthcare Group

Centre’s demonetisation act would have reaped better results had enough precautions been taken prior to its implementation. Every business is down today, construction industry has come to a standstill while automobile business has lost its sheen. Hospitals witnessed a 20 to 25 per cent decline in business. Though, the situation has improved subsequently, the dullness is still there. All over India, there is around 30 to 35 per cent decline in tourism revenue. Tourists who were here at the time of demonetisation had to pass through hell of a time. Tourists travel to a destination to have a hassle-free holiday. So, if you are not able to maintain such an atmosphere, nobody is going to come here. Their ordeal has created a negative impression outside the country. No special arrangements were made for foreign tourists to withdraw the money or exchange the currency. Most of the foreigners, who reached here did not come with internationally-accepted credit cards. It has totally derailed domestic tourism since the transactions were mostly based on cash. Every citizen expects good governance irrespective of politics, that can enhance the standard of living in some way. Be it long-term or short-term measures, Government’s policies should not affect the people. Punishing the tax evaders or offenders should not be done at the cost of majority of the citizens. Hence, it was a wrong move even as the Central Government reiterates that the intentions were good. Restrictions on money transactions are actually against the freedom of citizens.

Vinod Manjila, MD, Manjilas Group

Demonetisation is cruel to the bulk of our population. There has been substantial negative impact on daily-wage earners. If the purpose of demonetisation is to weed out counterfeit money, this could have been achieved through gradually withdrawing the notes now in circulation and replacing them with new ones. That would have been far less disruptive for ordinary people who still mostly use cash for transactions rather than cashless modes. The advice to ordinary people to go digital against the backdrop of poor bank and internet penetration is insensitive and gratuitous. Demonetisation as a weapon against terrorism is a claim bordering on the ridiculous. Corruption is not a one-time activity to be put an end to through this measure.”

Venkatesh Athreya, Economist and Advisor, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation

Demonetisation, was a bold move to remove the ills of the system. In a country of our size, a correction of this magnitude will have its pain, but I am sure this would be temporary. For demonetisation to reach its logical conclusion, it should be followed by measures that will stop further generation of black money. Food sector saw a dip of about 20 per cent in November & December 2016, but as cash flow has eased the numbers are back on track.

Decline in Tourist Arrivals

As per quick assessment of tourist arrivals conducted by the Department of Tourism, Kerala, domestic tourist arrivals fell by 17.7 per cent in November 2016 and foreign tourist arrivals by 8.7 per cent compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. The down trend followed in December and is still continuing in certain destinations. However, Kerala Tourism officials hope that Kochi-Muziris Biennale will help the sector offset the crisis caused by demonetisation.