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Demonetisation, 3 years on: A look at impact on key sectors of the economy

With three years of data available to back or reject the various assertions and assumptions, Business Standard looks at the Modi govt’s most disruptive economic measure, the ‘note ban’


On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to the nation that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes — 86 per cent of all currency notes in circulation in value — would cease to be legal tender. The stated objectives were unearthing black money, cracking down on counterfeit currency, and choking terror financing. Unsurprisingly, there were strong reactions both in favour of and against the unprecedented move, which would come to be known as ‘demonetisation’ or ‘note ban’. While some hailed it as a courageous step against impropriety that was hurting the economy, others saw the move itself as disastrous for the economy. In the months that followed, even as reports suggested that the government had not come any close to achieving its stated objectives, the government was seen patting itself on the back for the country’s move towards becoming a ‘cashless’ economy, or, as the PM said, a ‘less-cash’ economy. Many called this an act of ‘moving goal posts’ and rushed to label demonetisation as an economic nightmare. Three years later, we have enough data to analyse and gauge the impact of the note-ban exercise on various important sectors of the economy. Jobs According to Labour Bureau’s Sixth Annual EmploymentUnemployment Survey, the unemployment rate rose to a four-year high in 2016-17, when the government demonetised old currency notes. In 2017-18, the country’s unemployment rate stood at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent, according to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) periodic labour force survey (PLFS). Moreover, demonetisation caused a 2-3-percentage-point reduction in jobs and national economic activity in November and December 2016, according to a research...

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Demonetisation, 3 Years on - a Look at Impact on Key Sectors of the Economy  

Demonetisation, 3 years on: A look at impact on key sectors of the economy on Business Standard. With three years of data available to back...

Demonetisation, 3 Years on - a Look at Impact on Key Sectors of the Economy  

Demonetisation, 3 years on: A look at impact on key sectors of the economy on Business Standard. With three years of data available to back...