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Demonetisation 4 years on: A look at what it achieved and didn’t

There were three main objectives of demonetisation—fighting black money, flushing out fake notes and creating a cashless economy. Here is a status check.

November 08, 2020 / 10:38 AM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Four years ago on this day (November 8, 2016), Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared on national television and said all Rs 500, Rs 1,000 high value notes will turn invalid by midnight. The announcement at 8 pm— aimed at flushing out money hidden from the taxman, known as black money—led to nearly 86 percent of the currency in circulation becoming invalid by midnight.

Expectedly, mayhem followed. The move, known as demonetisation, caused a lot of hardship for large swathes of people who were forced to form serpentine queues before banks to exchange notes. Several small businesses that were dependent on cash took hard knocks.

There were three main economic objectives of demonetisation—fighting black money, fake notes and creating a cashless economy by pushing digital transactions. Did demonetisation achieve those targets?

Black Money