No impact


The much touted scheme to bring out black money stashed in different places in the country though the two-year old demonetization by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has miserably failed in achieving the objective for which it was done. In fact, the data accessed through a Right To Information (RTI) has revealed that leaders of the mainstream political parties mainly BJP, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena were heading the ten major cooperative banks where the demonetized high value currency notes were exchanged. This information has exposed the tall claims of the top political parties that black money had come out. But it is surprising that 99.3 percent of the high value currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 had come back from circulation to the bank accounts leaving only a fraction that could not be exchanged either by the people living abroad or those who could not deposit them in their bank accounts across the country. It is also a blot on the main political parties that they had exchanged the maximum number of demonetized currency notes in their banks amounting to staggering Rs 64,000 crores. Major part of Rs 44,000 crores were exchanged in the cooperative banks headed by these politicians. The ten cooperative banks in question have been ranked according to the value of banned notes exchanged during the first few days when the demonetization was announced by the government. Four of these banks are based in Gujarat, four in Maharashtra, one in Karnataka and one on Himachal Pradesh. The total value of banned currency notes exchanged in the month of November itself was Rs 22,270 crores, as per the RTI records. Moreover, the RTI data available with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) accessed by an English daily newspaper also reveals that nearly 19 percent of the currency was exchanged in these cooperative banks amounting to Rs 4191 crores between November 10 and December 31, 2016 with BJP chief Amit Shah as a director of Ahmedabad bank which is on the top of the list. It is worth noting that these politicians are busy in mudslinging and washing their dirty linen in public by calling the other political party corrupt. In fact this is also worth noting that most of the main political parties are birds of the same flock so far as exchange of banned currency notes in the banks is concerned. Except for creating inconvenience to the common masses resulting in the death of more than 100 persons while standing in queues outside the banks, the demonetization did not impact the politicians in any way. It is also surprising that the data from the main commercial banks where the top political parties are maintaining their party accounts is not available and the RTI efforts to get the figures have not succeeded even after two years of the demonetization process announced by the central government. At one point, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was not ready to reconcile the accounts of some of the cooperative banks for these very reasons and there was no explanation how the politicians managed to put in so much of cash in the accounts. This was happening at a time when the exchange of banned currency notes by the commoners was restricted to Rs 5000 each per day during the bank working hours. Hundreds and thousands of people queued outside the banks for this purpose. Some of the account holders or the poor people, who live in far flung and remote areas, who did not know of the demonetization turned up outside their banks after six months of this process and ended up losing their entire savings for no fault of theirs. This also included those people, who belonged to nomadic tribes, who keep on moving from one place to the other with their livestock, could not exchanged their old currency notes and had to cut a sorry figure when they went to the banks after about six months. Nearly two years since the note ban was first announced, it was recently assessed that the Modi government’s mammoth policy change had a marginal-to-low impact in extinguishing black money, curbing fake notes, reducing currency in circulation and lowering the proportion of high notes in the economy.