The government on Wednesday said that demonetisation was successful in achieving its objectives such as checking black money, fake currency notes and terror financing as well as boosting digital transaction, reported PTI. “I think demonetisation has achieved its objective quite substantially,” said Economic Affairs Secretary SC Garg. He also ruled out a cash crunch in any part of the country.
Garg’s comments come after the Reserve Bank of India in its annual report for 2017-’18 on Wednesday said over 99.3% of the banned notes in circulation before demonetisation have been returned to it. The total value of banknotes returned after Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were demonestised on November 8, 2016, is Rs 15,310.73 billion (Rs 15.311 lakh crore). The total value of such notes in circulation on November 8, 2016, was Rs 15,417.93 billion (Rs 15.418 lakh crore), the RBI said.
Opposition leaders criticised the government’s claim of the note ban being a success. Asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apologise, the Congress said his claim of black money being hoarded in cash was proved wrong with 99.3% of the demonetised currency being returned to the RBI. “The misery imposed on millions was needless and pointless as the demonetisation exercise ends in a failure,” said the party.
Congress leader P Chidambaram said that the country paid a huge price for demonetisation. “Indian economy lost 1.5% of GDP in terms of growth,” he said. “That alone was a loss of Rs 2.25 lakh crore a year.” He said demonetisation led to more than 100 deaths and job losses for 15 crore daily wage earners.
Most of the Rs 13,000 crore that was not returned could be in Nepal and Bhutan, which accept Indian currency, while the rest could have been lost or destroyed, said Chidambaram.
Citing the RBI report, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari called demonetisation a “monumental folly” which had failed to achieve its objectives of eliminating black money and fake currency.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanded a white paper on how demonetisation had proved to be a success after the suffering it caused to people and businesses alike. “People have a right to know – what was achieved thro demonetization? Govt shud come out wid a white paper on the same (sic),” he tweeted.