Demonetization: In his televised address to the nation on November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the two currencies will be “simply useless pieces of paper” going forward.
In an effort to combat the accumulation and circulation of domestic illicit money, the Indian government announced the demonetisation of all 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes on this day, November 8, six years ago.
The two currencies will be “simply useless piece of paper” with immediate effect, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in his televised speech to the nation on November 8, 2016, before introducing new notes of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 for widespread use.
Although many have hailed it as a “bold” move, the Opposition has criticized the BJP government throughout the years, labeling the choice a “failure.”
Six years later, Congressman Rahul Gandhi criticized the action taken by the nation’s BJP-led administration in a tweet on Monday. In his words, “With the promise of ’50 days,’ the ‘Raja’ did the DeMo-lition of the economy with demonetisation.”
What was and what changed
On October 8, 2021, there were Rs 28.30 lakh crore in circulation. In addition, as The Indian Express noted, currency in circulation (CIC) rose from 10.7% of GDP in 2017–18 to a record high of 14.4% of GDP in 2020–21.
The data, which claims that cash with the public recorded a new high of Rs 30.88 lakh crore at the fortnight ending October 21, 2022, was used by opposition lawmakers to criticize the demonetisation decision. “Six years after the’masterstroke,’ the cash available in the public is 72% larger than that in 2016,” claimed Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge. PM has not yet acknowledged this monumental error that caused the economy to collapse.
Cash continues to rule the market as the preferred method of payment, despite the RBI and other government organizations’ efforts to promote a “less cash society.” Despite the public’s access to a variety of digital payment options, businesses still rely on cash for all phases of a transaction. 15 crore people who lack access to a bank account continue to rely on cash as their primary form of payment.
Over the past six years, leaders of the opposition parties have organized a number of protests against the “damage” the action has allegedly done to the nation’s economy.
In 2016, there was a shortage of money due to the abrupt withdrawal of notes, and there were huge lines outside banks. According to reports, some 115 people passed away while waiting in line to withdraw money from their bank accounts. Additionally, it was said that the new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2000 banknotes circulated slowly.
The economy had been shaken, with demand decreasing, enterprises going through a crisis, and GDP growth declining by about 1%. Many small units were severely impacted, and many still reported significant losses nine months later.
Left-wing parties in the days following PM Modi’s statement in 2016 demanded a 12-hour bandh in the nation’s capital. In opposition to the decision, the AAP and Congress both organized separate protests and marches.
A year later, in 2017, the Gujarat Jan Andolan, under the direction of Nirjhari Sinha, made the decision to protest the demonetisation effort by rolling pins on steel plates at the Sardar Baug in Laldarwaja, Ahmedabad.
While opposition leaders and organizations criticized the PM Modi-led NDA administration for “wrecking” and “ruining” the nation’s economy, the Indian Youth Congress organized a protest outside the RBI headquarters in 2018. Also announcing rallies across the nation, the Congress party demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
2019 also saw protests by the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee against the BJP, the country’s slowing economy, unemployment, and banking sector crises at the taluka, district, and state levels throughout Gujarat from November 8 to 15.