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Indian Government Announces New Measures to Ease Cash Shortage in the Country

Government has increased the weekly withdrawal limit from 20,000 to 24,000

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Indian Currency. Pixabay
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November 16, 2016: The government of India took a big step to uncover the black money in the country. The government demonetized ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes on 8th November, 2016 and ceased the use of the banknotes in any form of legal tender in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the people in an unscheduled live televised address at 8:15 pm the same day. In the announcement, Modi declared the usage of ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes and told everyone that the notes can be exchanged at the banks until December 30. But a long queue outside every ATM and bank has hampered the process, mentioned Reuters.

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It seems that RBI was not prepared to face the demonetization. RBI didn’t have enough supply of the notes for the exchange. Also, the new notes of ₹2000 are of different size and so the ATM machines need to be modified to dispense the notes. There is a long queue of people waiting to exchange their notes. ATMs are running out of cash faster as they can dispense only ₹100 notes.

The under-preparedness of government has led to the creation of extreme chaos. The move is considered economically imprudent.

According to Reuters report, people are desperate for cash and so the workforce is wasting long hours standing in the long queues at the Banks and the ATMs. The abrupt call-back for the 86% of the country’s cash has brought the economy to a standstill.  The wide conjecture on property and gold has affected the economic stability and investments.

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The people most hard hit by the demonetization are the ones in the rural areas who do not have a bank account. Indians who rely on cash for their daily transactions are struggling to pay for the basic commodities.

In a political rally in Uttar Pradesh, Modi said, “I am aware you are facing difficulties… I understand the inconvenience.”

“I am really pained by the inconvenience and that is why I am working tirelessly to help people overcome this situation.”

“I will never let anyone loot money that belongs to India’s poor.”

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The government has been trying hard to deal with the cash crunch. New micro cash machines will be installed across the country and banks are asked to waive off the transaction charges on credit and debit cards.

India’s secretary for Economic Affairs, Shaktikanta Das, told reporters that government has increased the weekly withdrawal limit from 20,000 to 24,000. He also said that the re-calibrated cash machines would start to dispense new 2,000 rupee notes within two days.

The government has allowed a network of banking correspondents to provide people from rural area access to the banking services.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

 

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The Answer to The Impending Questions On Demonetization Are Here

While it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

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Indian Currency. Pixabay

Nearly all of the currency removed from circulation in a surprise 2016 attempt to root out illegal hoards of cash came back into the financial system, Resever Bank of India  has announced, indicating the move did little to slow the underground economy.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s currency decree, which was designed to destroy the value of billions of dollars in untaxed cash stockpiles, caused an economic slowdown and months of financial chaos for tens of millions of people or demonetization.

Modi announced in a November 2016 TV address that all 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, then worth about $7.50 and $15, would be withdrawn immediately from circulation. The banned notes could be deposited into bank accounts but the government also said it would investigate deposits over 250,000 rupees, or about $3,700. The government eventually released new currency notes worth 500 and 2,000 rupees.

 

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An activist of Congress party hold the banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

 

In theory, the decree meant corrupt politicians and businesspeople would suddenly find themselves sitting on billions of dollars in worthless currency, known here as “black money.”

“A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” Modi said in the surprise nighttime speech announcement of the order. “There is a time when you realize that you have to bring some change in society, and this is our time.”

But even as the decree caused turmoil for those in India who have always depended on cash — the poor and middle class, and millions of small traders — the rich found ways around the currency switch. In the months after the decree, businesspeople said that even large amounts of banned currency notes could be traded on the black market, though middlemen charged heavy fees.

demonetization
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with mayor, flickr

The reserve bank of India report said in its Wednesday report that 99.3 percent of the $217 billion in notes withdrawn from circulation had come back into the economy. Some officials had originally predicted that number could be as low as 60 percent.

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“Frankly, I think demonetization was a mistake,” said Gurcharan Das, a writer and the former head of Proctor & Gamble in India. He said that while it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

“You can’t overnight change that in a country which is poor and illiterate. Therefore, for me it’s not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well,” Das said. (VOA)