Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes may have been influenced by a Pune-based think tank called Arthakranti Sansthan.
It was a theory first put forward by Anil Bokil and his group that advocates financial reforms in India. In 2015, Bokil had a two-hour meeting with Modi, say his colleagues. During the meeting, Modi showed his keen interest in understanding the proposal presented by Arthakranti Sansthan.
“It was Arthakranti that influenced Modi’s latest announcement,” said Bokil. When pointed out that government has replaced Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination notes with higher denomination such as Rs 2000, Bokil said it was a temporary move to quickly replace the now invalid currency.
“We believe it is just a stop gap arrangement,” said Yamaji Malkar, a Marathi journalist and Bokil’s colleague at Arthakranti.
Bokil who is in his 60s, is a mechanical engineer turned financial theorist.
Through Arthakranti, a theory widely circulated and debated in mainstream as well as social media, Bokil has put forward five-point plan to “eradicate corruption, reduce inflation and increase country’s GDP.”
Among the other points, Arthakranti has been insisting for withdrawal of all high denomination currency and replacing all taxes by single point 2% tax on all transactions that should be routed only through banks.
While many say Arthakranti has affiliations to the BJP, the think tank rejects it saying it had proposed similar idea even to Congress members during UPA government. When Nitin Gadkari was tasked with preparing India vision 2025 as a part of the BJP’s campaign ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha election, the group met him and presented him the Arthakranti proposal. Gadkari in principle had agreed to accept the proposal if his party came to power.
A native of Latur, Bokil completed his engineering and shifted to Aurangabad, the industrial town in Marathwada, for job. While he worked at few places, Bokil initiated a cooperative workers society and dedicated himself to it for the rest of his life. Around eights years ago, Bokil shifted to Pune, from where he brings out a monthly magazine on finance.
When asked about the inconvenience caused to citizens by the government’s decision, Bokil said, “This is temporary phase. Those who are really in inconvenienced are the one who have stashed black money.”