Free hit counter


By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.


When Indians re-invent creativity...

I am often asked to describe Indians. Which is absolutely an impossible task. But there is a trait that I often forget and yet explains so much: that’s jugaad. Of course it is so unique that there is no English translation. But I would translate it by “the art of thinking out of the box and find solutions nobody would have thought of”. Indians are masters of this. Beside them, MacGyver is a debilitating Penguin.

Here are some examples to illustrate.

India,jugaad,creativity,demonetisation,black money,corruption,alcohol,drinking and driving,ruleWhen Modi, the Prime Minister, launched his ‘demonetization’ at the end of 2016, he thought that at least 70% of people would not dare put their black money back in the bank and would rather destroy it, for fear of facing fines, public shaming etc.. He was wrong and had underestimated his compatriots who have found ways to deposit more than 99% of all the notes (source Including by distributing to the poor around them with incentives (deposit 250,000 rupees (the limit to not attract attention) for me and I will give you 10,000 kind of thing).

India,jugaad,creativity,demonetisation,black money,corruption,alcohol,drinking and driving,ruleAnother example: in December 2016, the Supreme Court delivered a judgment: they banned (Indian authorities have a knack for banning things) alcohol sales within a radius of 500 meters from a main road (national or local highway). This was the result of a 4 year campaign on road safety – ironically enough, the man who led it had been left crippled by a road accident, because his car had gone off-road in the hope of spotting a leopard and he tackled the problem of alcoholism on the road. There is definitely a problem in India, but alcohol remains the 3rd cause of accident after excess of speed and mobile phone.

india,jugaad,creativity,demonetisation,black money,corruption,alcohol,drinking and driving,rule

But let’s move on. The goal of the Supreme Court was to reduce drinking and driving. As a result: 80% of the restaurants in our area have put down the shutter, from one day to the other. But some ‘smart ones’ managed to divert the entrance to the restaurant; something like you have to drive twice around the block to be able to enter, thus covering the legal 500 metres! A weird rule though: 500 meters is not enough to sober up, as far as I know. Anyway on August 23rd, 2017, the Supreme Court relaxed their decision and lifred the ban within the cities, probably in the spirit of focusing on drunk truck drivers, who, surprisingly (or not), are not likely going to get drunk in “pubs” but rather from local dives serving plastic alchohol. Whether the judges were hit by logic or pressure related to the losses of the restaurants who have to shut down and the reduction of collected taxes on alcohol no one knows.

India,jugaad,creativity,demonetisation,black money,corruption,alcohol,drinking and driving,ruleI sometimes face the challenge of explaining Jugaad to the Swiss... For whom the rule is the rule, even if the rule is stupid...

India,jugaad,creativity,demonetisation,black money,corruption,alcohol,drinking and driving,rule

Source : ; ; ;


Bye-bye 500 and 1000 rupee notes!

rupeereuters_505_041414122405.jpgWhile the world is watching, the other clown becoming president of the United States, the Indian Prime Minister continues with his hobby of banning things. After banning beef meat almost everywhere, porn sites etc., he created the surprise yesterday... by banning 500 and 1000 rupee notes. With immediate effect (well the announcement took place around 8 p.m. and took effect at midnight), it was orchestrated masterfully. Basically, it means that now you can pay cash only with bills of 100 rupees (a little less than €1.5). Knowing that the India is a ‘cash economy’ (almost everything is done in cash) it’s going to be a little tough to adjust.

The intention is laudable though: putting an end to the ‘black economy’, fake currency and corruption. This plan has the merit of being ambitious! Apparently, it was the third (surprise) phase of Modi’s strategy, the first one being to encourage everyone to open a bank account (since August 2014, 254.5 million accounts have been opened, half of them in the rural sector*) and the second one to encourage all those who have black money to come clean**. (In fact the plan had in 8 steps*, I just simplified.)

In any case, this is going to bring up some change!

Here are the next steps summed-up:

India,ban,fake currency,fake notes,corruption,black money,100 rupee notes,500 rupee notes,1000 rupee notes

And in more details (for instance what can tourists or people living abroad and holding cash can do): RBI_ Your questions answered by the RBI _ What to do with 500 and 1000 notes.pdf - source.

 * Source:

** The black money holders were given a chance from June to September to come clean and declare their assets – and pay taxes on it, with a penalty of 45%. But less than a tenth of the estimated amounts of black money (7 000 billion rupees (about 6% of GDP)) have been disclosed.