RK Nagar writes; Demonetisation at BOHO

RK Nagar
RK Nagar

Confused? But this is true.

A demonetisation did take place, much before most of us heard of ‘Demonatisation’ few years ago when currency notes in the denominations of Rs 1000 and 500 suddenly became scrap.

People have differing views on that demonetisation. There have been lengthy debates whether it was needed and/or was successful. I do not intend to ignite a debate on it, though my own view is that it was a much needed bold step, that was unnecessarily delayed for far too long.

The demonetisation I am going to talk about was successful. It too was very much needed and was equally secret. It was done suddenly and took everyone by surprise.

The scale maybe microscopic, but demonetisation is after all demonetisation. It is good as long as it serves the intended purpose. And in this case it did.
That is too much of a preamble. Now to the actual event.

Late ‘70s or early 80s, I don’t remember the year but I was drafted in the BOHO management team along with Arvind Swaminathan and Dr. MC Vyas. When Arvind received the accounts from the outgoing secretary of the club, he was horrified to notice that the only activity that is supposed to be ‘profitable’ was incurring unimaginable losses. And this activity was TEA.

The person employed by the club to make and distribute Tea was making and selling about 450 cups each morning and afternoon. That made 900 cups a day. The sale used to be both on coupons as well as cash. The daily revenue collection, however equalled the value of just 250 cups a day.

He was collecting coupons and cash and was depositing them with us. Collected coupons were destroyed daily so that they don’t come back in circulation and yet we were losing. For the club, this was a huge loss. It was ‘destroying our economy’. Someone was doing a ‘Pakistan’ style of operation- well planned and executed sabotage. But we didn’t know who he was. He had managed to sell more than one coupon book to many unsuspecting people at varying discount, in some cases upto 50%.

So, the three men ‘strategy council’ (Arvind Swaminathan, Dr MC Vyas and me) met and decided to ‘demonatise Boho Tea Coupon books’ with immediate effect.
But implementing this ‘immediate effect’ decision was not easy. We needed new ‘difficult to reproduce’ coupon books. We had to have them first in hand and we could not get it done with our regular printer.

So we identified a new printer and had new books printed. Each coupon had the BOHO logo and Arvind’s initials on it. 50 coupons (5 pages of10 coupons each) were bound as a coupon book and each book was given a serial number. Once we had these books with us, we were ready to spring a surprise.

Our first action was to discontinue the services of the saboteur we had zeroed on. We employed a replacement-R.C Chavda (he later became a full time employee of NDDB in planning division) and two assistants to prepare and distribute tea. Distribution had to be strictly against ‘pre-sold coupons’. Cash transaction were strictly forbidden.

Next, we three went on each floor and replaced the old book/ balance coupons with the new book / coupons. Since no one could exchange more than one full book, all the extra books purchased at discount became useless. It was the ‘demonetised’ trash.

We next identified a coordinator on each floor, who sold the coupon books on the floor as also maintained a record of sale with buyer’s name and the book number sold to him. That way we were able to exercise a strict control on coupon book sales. This also enabled us to control the quantity of tea – measured as number of cups to be made in each shift.

The outcome was very satisfying. The tea quality improved as we issued the measured quantity of ingredients for each shift. Our revenue soared and our business came out of red in less than two weeks.

Whatever be the scale of operation, the mission ‘demonetisation of tea coupons’ was successfully accomplished.

Note: No one has offered me an advisory role in the ministry of finance yet!!!

Some Facebook comments

No one has offered Nagar an advisory role in the ministry of finance as yet ….may be they know that he was a member of BOHO 😁😂 may be because they probably came to know what the term BOHO when originally coined really meant !

However, Nagar’s writeup has stirred the NDDB oldies and a number of them have commented on Facebook