It is hardly surprising that a lot of people are beginning to regard the demonetization move as something that has hit only the lower middle class and the poor—especially the rural segment of our population. People had reasons to believe that the government was indeed sincere about getting all the black money in the country out. After all, until December 12 about Rs 12 lakh crore in demonetized currency notes had been deposited in banks. This represents about 85 per cent of the demonetized notes. As such, there was not very much more that the government could have expected by way of eradicating black money. What has surprised most people, however, is that immediately after the demonetization of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes, the government should have decided to print currency notes of an even higher denomition—the Rs 2,000 notes. If high denomition currency notes are an aid to the creation of black money, the circulation of Rs 2,000 notes was a move in the wrong direction. That this was indeed so, has been proved by a large number of rich people all over the country maging to acquire huge hoards of the new Rs 2,000 bank notes. Considering that the government had set rigid limits of how much cash could be drawn from banks in a day and in a week, it is impossible to reconcile the crores of rupees that a number of persons all over the country were able to amass with the new Rs 2,000 notes. Considering the limit of withdrawals of cash from bank accounts is Rs 24,000 per week, it should have taken a person a few years to acquire over a crore of rupees in new currency notes. The government now has the onerous task of not only finding out and apprehending the number of people who were able to collect crores of rupees in new banknotes within a few days, but also of accepting the fact that this could not have been done without the help of bank officials. What does the government plan to do to errant and unscrupulous bank officials who have clearly broken the set rules in order to help their rich clients? Will the government allow them to go scot free and accept an inglorious boomerang of a well-intended fincial reform?
Where are we heading?