RBI mum on fate of fake notes

Black Money-17, Corruption -16, Digitalisation-0: When Modi Spoke On November 8, 2016

"Rs 16,000 cr out of demonetised notes of Rs 15,44,000 cr did not come back to RBI".

However, the union minister for Finance says that the demonetization has addressed several other factors in nation: it has brought in huge cash into banks and enhanced digitization in country.

None of the promises made by him while announcing the decision had come true, he said.

The note-ban shows that the Modi government is capable of taking "bold" decisions, but its spectacular failure also demonstrates that courage that ignores the ground reality can be suicidal.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for demonetisation decision.

The idea was to make it hard for hoarders of undeclared wealth, known in India as "black money", to exchange their undeclared cash for legal tender.

The biggest embarrassment for the government was when it claimed that more than 99 percent of the cash had been deposited.

"The trail of deposits" of bank notes "into bank accounts may provide valuable information to the revenue authorities in tracing unaccounted money", RBI said in its annual report. Jaitley questioned the wisdom of economists, who declared the note ban had miserably failed in its objectives.

Another stated aim of the demonetisation drive was to increase the tax base.

After the note ban, old notes were allowed to be deposited in banks, with unusual deposits coming under income tax scrutiny. To which Chidambaram quoted a number saying: "In November 2016, electronic payment was Rs 94 lakh crore, in May 2017 (after six months of note ban) it has come back to Rs 94,21000 crore".

He must apologize to the country and we will continue to force accountability on this issue, " Mr Sharma said. Sharma argued that the average income of new taxpayers was Rs 2.7 lakh, which meant they would pay tax only on Rs 20,000 above the tax exemption limit of Rs 2.5 lakh.

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said none of the measures that Modi had promised with the ban on high-value currency notes, put into effect in November a year ago, had been realised. The problem has not yet been sorted out as the government has introduced so many riders in the name of controlling black money that legitimate funds are still jammed in many banks.

Singh said since notes worth Rs 14.18 lakh crore were in circulation and notes worth Rs 15.28 lakh crore have come back, there is a surplus of Rs 1.1 lakh crore. The RBI ended up spending over Rs 30,000 crore on the printing of new notes and managing the logistics of demonetization. We had told the Prime Minister and the Government, this money belongs to the people of India, to the farmers, to the workers, to the housewives, to Government employees, to small entrepreneurs, to small industries, Mr Sharma said.

While one has to agree that a large amount of cash in the system is not always beneficial for the economy, it is also clear that the government kept changing its narrative on demonetisation as it found the radical move disrupting the economy without giving its intended benefits of extinguishing a large portion of cash in circulation.

RBI's annual report also shows that the banking regulator's income for the 2016-17 declined by 23.56% while expenditure for the year increased by 107.84%.



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