RBI replies to RTI regarding Demonetisation

The minutes of meeting which had approved the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes has been revealed through RTI. The government had contested that demonetisation would help curb black money and a steep rise in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes; check the circulation of fake currency and promote e-payments and financial inclusion.

Observations made by RBI

  • RBI Directors had contested the government’s claim about curbing black money by highlighting that most of the black money is held not in cash but in the form of real sector assets such as gold or real estate and this move would not have a material impact on the assets.
  • RBI Directors refuted the government’s argument about the growth in high denomination notes being much faster than the pace of economic expansion, by reasoning that when adjusted for inflation, the difference may not be so stark.
  • RBI has stated that even though the incidence of counterfeiting is a concern, Rs 400 crore as a percentage of the total quantum of currency in circulation is not very significant.

Despite these reservations and disagreements, the RBI board had approved the demonetisation in larger public interest as it provided an opportunity to promote financial inclusion and digital payments. Further the government had assured the RBI directors that it would take measures to contain the use of cash and promote financial inclusion and electronic modes of payment.

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