Cashless India: three years from note-bandi, is demonetisation a failure?

New Delhi: The Indian Government's core objective of carrying out -- demonetisation -- three years ago, has remained unfulfilled, with data showing an increase in the level of
hard currency in the system.

It was on November 8, 2016, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated demonetisation, an action that took the country by surprise.

It was envisaged with an aim of eradicating black money and curbing dependence on the cash economy. However, the Reserve Bank of India's data showed that cash with the public as of October 25, 2019, stood at Rs 21,89,781 crore, a 15.2 per cent higher on a year on basis.

On a sequential basis, there was an increase of 5.2 per cent in the currency level with the public from March 31, 2019 till October 25, 2019. As the data showed the exercise has failed to accomplish the objective of a cashless society, DeMo has also been cited as one of the main factors for the slowdown which has gripped the country's economy.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

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