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Demonetization and the Black Economy

Demonetization and the Black Economy

Arun Kumar
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On 8 November 2016, the prime minister announced the immediate cancellation of all
Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination notes, wiping out 86 per cent of the currency in
circulation. India’s well-functioning economy went into a tailspin.

This move, it was claimed, was made to wipe out corruption, deter the generation of black
money, weed out fake Indian currency notes and curb terrorism. Overnight, people in India realized that the cash in their pockets had no value. A window of fifty days was granted to 1.3 billion people to convert their old notes into new ones.
Businesses, especially in the unorganized sectors, came to a grinding halt. Patients in hospitals faced huge problems, farmers had difficulty buying inputs, weddings were scaled down, and fishermen watched their catch rot. Many lost their jobs and could not support their families.
A year later, the RBI announced that 99 per cent of the old currency notes had been deposited with
it. India continues to grapple with the effects of this move. The black economy has not been
dented; counterfeiting and terrorism continue; the credibility of the RBI, banks and currency is
damaged; the accountability of the Parliament and the prime minister has been eroded; and the social divide
has widened. There have been many arguments and counter-arguments from both sides, but they have
missed the complete picture.
Demonetization and the Black Economy, for the first time, lucidly explains the story
of demonetization along with its effects on the economy.

Imprint: India Portfolio

Published: Nov/2021

ISBN: 9780143456407

Length : 344 Pages

MRP : ₹399.00

Demonetization and the Black Economy

Arun Kumar

On 8 November 2016, the prime minister announced the immediate cancellation of all
Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination notes, wiping out 86 per cent of the currency in
circulation. India’s well-functioning economy went into a tailspin.

This move, it was claimed, was made to wipe out corruption, deter the generation of black
money, weed out fake Indian currency notes and curb terrorism. Overnight, people in India realized that the cash in their pockets had no value. A window of fifty days was granted to 1.3 billion people to convert their old notes into new ones.
Businesses, especially in the unorganized sectors, came to a grinding halt. Patients in hospitals faced huge problems, farmers had difficulty buying inputs, weddings were scaled down, and fishermen watched their catch rot. Many lost their jobs and could not support their families.
A year later, the RBI announced that 99 per cent of the old currency notes had been deposited with
it. India continues to grapple with the effects of this move. The black economy has not been
dented; counterfeiting and terrorism continue; the credibility of the RBI, banks and currency is
damaged; the accountability of the Parliament and the prime minister has been eroded; and the social divide
has widened. There have been many arguments and counter-arguments from both sides, but they have
missed the complete picture.
Demonetization and the Black Economy, for the first time, lucidly explains the story
of demonetization along with its effects on the economy.

Select Preferred Format

Arun Kumar

Arun Kumar is a well-known economist and country's leading authority on the black economy. He has written, studied and lectured extensively on this subject for nearly four decades. He was educated at Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Princeton University. He taught economics at JNU for three decades and retired in 2015.
Kumar's focus areas include public finance, development economics, public policy and macroeconomics. His work has been published widely in these areas, both in the popular press and academic journals. He is currently the Malcolm Adiseshiah chair professor at the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi.

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