If not white, demonetisation turned black money grey: NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar

If not white, demonetisation turned black money grey: NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar

Business

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Ever since the RBI published a report that said more than 99 per cent of the currencies that were declared void on November 8, 2016, was back in the banking system, opposition parties and critics of the demonetisation move have been calling the drive — done to wipe out black money from the system — a complete failure. 

However, the government and NITI Aayog officials feel otherwise. NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Thursday said that no one ever said that the aim of demonetisation was to get back less money. 

“The Rs3-4 lakh crore more-than-anticipated money that has come back in the system is under the purview of tax authorities. If not white, the demonetisation drive at least turned the black money into grey,” Kumar said on the sidelines of the MOVE: Global Mobility Summit pre-event. According to him, notice has been sent to 18 lakh suspicious bank account holders. Of this, several accounts are already under investigation and it is expected that NITI Aayog will come out with a detailed report on this in the coming days. 

Kumar said that demonetisation has had a huge impact on market sentiments and in reducing cash transaction. “Buying and selling of jewellery items and real estate property in cash have come down. DeMo has created a fear among cash hoarders,” he said. Kumar even slammed reports that several lakh jobs were lost because of the note ban. “Data tells us that in the last three years, rural wages have gone up 4-5 per cent YoY. If there is an employment crisis in cities, then how can wages increase in villages? The whole outcry that there is no job creation is farcical. What has happened now is that the structure has changed. Young people are moving towards service sectors such as Ola, Uber, Softbank…” he said. 

According to a Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy data published last year, the estimated total employment during January-April 2017 was 405 million compared to 406.5 million during the preceding four months (September-December 2016), meaning 1.5 million jobs were lost during the period.