“Mixed” bulletin of the ex-vice-president of Niti Aayog

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New Delhi:

Rajiv Kumar, the former vice president of government think tank Niti Aayog, today gave a mixed assessment of the 2016 ratings ban. The Supreme Court, which supported the ratings ban in a 4-1 verdict, evaded the question, saying that it is “irrelevant” whether the purpose of the night ban was achieved or not.

However, Mr Kumar told NDTV that he did not believe the viewing ban had achieved all it set out to do. The only bright spot, he said, was digitization.

The outcome of the viewing ban is “quite mixed,” Kumar told NDTV in an exclusive interview. “Because given the nature of our economy, the disorganized sector of our economy, a large part of our economy is cash-based, the big industries like construction etc. the attempt to make the ‘monetary economy or black money etc. think that’s would have been achieved,” he added.

When announcing the banknote ban in November 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear that the ban was part of a larger plan to tackle black money, and thus terrorism.

But six years later, the amount of counterfeit money in circulation is much higher than in 2016.

The value of the total currency in March this year increased by 89% to Rs 31,05,721 crore from Rs 16,41,571 crore in March 2016, the finance ministry told parliament today.

According to data shared by the ministry to Lok Sabha today, the currency volume in terms of the number of banknotes in circulation has increased by 44% to reach 1,30,533 million in March 2022.

The value of digital payments, meanwhile, has increased from Rs 6,952 crore in 2016 to Rs 12 lakh crore in October 2022.

The Supreme Court’s majority verdict today ruled that the government has the power to demonetize banknotes of all series and that proper procedure was followed in banning Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in 2016. The court said the decision passed the proportionality test passed, which means it is a reasonable way to eradicate black money and counterfeit money. The given period of 52 days for the exchange of notes was not unreasonable, according to the judges.

In a strongly dissenting ruling, Judge BV Nagarathna said the ban on the banknotes was “flawed and illegal”.

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