In its quest to leave no stone unturned in countering the rumours surrounding demonetisation, the government is reaching out to people via social media. In a series of tweets, the official handle of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) tries to dispel some common ‘myths’ circulating in the public domain.
But its effort is far from stellar and the tweets themselves -- often vague and technical -- create more confusion.
For the past five days, the PIB handle has been tweeting clarifications with the hashtag #DemonetisationMythsBusted. It refutes some of the more widespread rumours, such as Rs 50 and Rs 100 currency notes being demonetised next or the freezing of bank accounts or jewellery. Both, says the PIB, are “baseless” myths.
The PIB also lays to rest any speculation on whether the new Rs 2,000 note has an embedded chip to track black money, calling it a “figment of imagination”.
The government also clarifies that the colour rubbing off the new Rs 2,000 notes is a security feature and not the result of poor quality.
Other tweets are aimed at reassuring the public that paper land records will not become useless and that all banks, including cooperative banks, have monitoring mechanisms to check malpractices.
However, many of the tweets in this myth-busting exercise are geared towards countering common criticisms of the government’s move rather than offering helpful advice . The government seems at pains to announce that the demonetisation move was completely secret and that the cost of implementation does not outweigh the good.
In fact, some of the clarifications offered are too vague or unclear. In the latest tweet, the PIB says that it has not withdrawn an order announcing higher withdrawal limits for farmers and weddings, but has only issued a “technical correction”. Many people have responded asking what this technical correction entails, but it has not been specified. The government also claims that the use of indelible ink is aimed to discourage repeat withdrawals, but will not bar people from withdrawing for ‘a long time in the future’. But, again, it does not explain how these two contradictory scenarios will play out.