India has thousands of economists and hundreds of universities teaching economics. There has not been a single one objective study analysing the impact of demonetisation. What little analysis has been done is based on western economic models that are irrelevant to India’s cash-driven economy. Also, the analysis is influenced by one’s liking for the prime minister. Even a writer of Arun Shourie’s standing seems to have lost his objectivity.
Worth the try...
So far no country has succeeded in stopping black money generation through demonetisation. Perhaps India will also end up that way. This does not mean the government has got it wrong. India may not root out corruption, but it will lay out a solid basis towards it if it implements demonetisation.
In ten days about Rs. 6 lakh crore of high value notes have been deposited. By closing date, 30
December, about 60 per cent of demonetised notes may get deposited in the banks. That will result in wiping out a significant amount of black money which will result in reducing the price for assets like real estate and gold.
Also those who have deposited more than Rs. 2.5 lakh will come under the attention of the tax department. Many such depositors will end up paying a penalty on taxes owed. The government has also declared that they will go after property owners who had monetised their ill-gotten wealth and if they succeed, ill-gotten real estate will also be taken over by the government. This requires tremendous improvement in governance, which is not likely even under the leadership of Modi.
Even those who are complimenting the government for demonetisation are surprised by the replacement of Rs 1000 note by a higher denomination note of Rs 2000. The latest development now is that there will be Rs 1000 note in addition to Rs 2000 note. Only if the government can limit the circulation of high denomination notes (Rs 500, Rs1000 and Rs 2000) to less than 20 per cent of total circulation (considerably less than the current level of 85 per cent) and promote cashless society will make sense.
An overwhelmingly cash economy...
India is overwhelmingly a cash economy with 90 per cent of all transactions taking place that way. Since smaller denomination notes are used for transactions and bigger denomination notes for storing value, the government could have stopped the printing of Rs 1000 and Rs 2000 notes.
Moving towards a cashless society...
By restricting circulation of high denomination notes, the government will compel people to use a payment system like Paytm, credit/debit cards, bank cheques... Such a cashless society will result in less generation of black money. Besides demonetisation, government should encourage the process of moving towards a cashless society.
During wars, one cannot escape a lot of inconveniences and people learn to cope with them. In fact, if people did not rush to the banks soon after the declaration of demonetisation, there would have been no long lines. Already these lines have thinned after the first few days in most parts of the country. Also during wars, media does not frighten people and demoralise them through horror stories. There is need for self-censorship, especially on the part of television medium.