RBI mum on fate of fake notes

POOL New  Reuters

Forget Rs 3 lakh crore that Jaitley claimed would be "extinguished" due to demonetisation, the banned notes that didn't finds their way back to the banks - provisionally - account for just Rs 16000 crore.

"The fact that the bulk of SBNs [specified bank notes Rs 500 and Rs 1,000] have come back to the banking system shows that the banking system and the RBI were able to effectively respond to the challenge of collecting such a large number of SBNs in a limited time", the Finance Ministry said. Within four months, bond traders realised that the impact of demonetisation would be limited and bond yields rationalised.

"The real object of demonetisation was formalisation, attack on black money, less cash currency, bigger tax base, digitisation, a blow to terrorism", Jaitley said.

"The prime minister's missile on tax evasion missed the target", said Pankaj Revri, president of the market association. First was what the media expected that the black money will not come back into the system. In January, the government made a decision to use data analytics to identify people whose deposits didn't match their known sources of income.

The RBI's balance sheet also says that in 2016-17 the cost of printing currency was Rs 7,965 crore.

He said Modi had promised to unearth black money and end corruption, terror funding and counterfeit currency. The Congress said RBI's report was proof that demonetisation had "utterly failed".

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley immediately held a press conference to defend the decision taken by the government over demonetization, after the figures were released by the RBI. The cash ban prompted the central bank to print new currency, reducing its profit and cutting annual dividend payout to the government by half.

Gandhi, whose term ended in April this year, was among the 8-10 people aware of the plan to invalidate old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 9, 2016.

The RBI's annual report highlights that the trail of deposits of specified bank notes into bank accounts "may provide valuable information to the revenue authorities in tracing unaccounted money". "The Reserve Bank figures yesterday exposed the falsehood propagated by the government", he said. "Create more friendly tax administration which encourages people to file tax returns and use various other tools such as cash transaction tax and suspicious transaction reporting to detect cash transactions".

Sharma wondered what the note ban decision had achieved as 99 per cent of the money had been returned, and accused the prime minister of "changing the narrative" on the issue. After the note ban exercise, he had told India Today in an interview: "It is a big mistake, both in terms of its objective of dealing with corruption as well as the objective of one rapid jump of getting into a cashless economy". Though Jaitley claimed that "terrorist and Naxalite financing stopped nearly entirely due to demonetisation", he or the Modi government have failed to provide any evidence substantiating this claim so far.

According to the report issued by the RBI, for the financial year, 2016-17 now total of 3285 million notes of 2000 are in circulation, worth the value of 6571 billion rupees and 5882 million notes of 500 are in circulation worth the value of 2941 billion rupees.

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