Sunday, 20 November 2016

Indian Prime Minister Modi's Demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency

Demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency, a boon to common Indian citizen

The move to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency tenders by the union government of India on last Tuesday, was a laudable and historic effort to clean up the decades long corruption and black money. As Indian citizens, we all should be proud of the fact that we elected a government, which was capable of taking such brave decision for the long-term betterment of the country’s economy. Nevertheless, there’s a high possibility that a certain percentage of people might interpret this decision negatively in view of the fact that short-lived challenges are to be seen, which might have a profound negative impact and dethrone ruling party in the coming elections; not everyone happens to be cognizant of the decision’s long-term benefits. If unaccounted or black money isn’t obliterated, it would make the rich richer and the poor poorer. According to SBI, “ Banks received deposits worth Rs 53,000 crore since the government put out of circulation, high-value banknotes in a bid to drain illegal wealth. Nearly 14 lakh crore are held in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes now – nearly 86% of the total value of currencies of all denominations in circulation” [1]. Ultimately, government will possess an adequate amount of money to invest in infrastructure, education, agriculture, and all other sectors to build India economically stronger.

How would we benefit from demonetization?
Above all, every honest taxpayer should hail this decision. In the present economical situation, black money has inflated prices in real estate, gold and a few other sectors, making it a challenge for a common Indian citizen to invest. However the government’s attempt to curb black money will significantly lower the prices in such sectors. According to Finance ministry’s report in 2012, “real-estate accounts for more than 50 per cent of the current black money market” [2]. Demonetization would not only repair internal economic issues, but also tackles funding to terrorism. Counterfeit money is one of the main sources of funding for activities related to terrorism [3]. Also, corrupted government officials and politicians who have earned in illegal ways will have no other option to put that money into usage.

Why there is “hue and cry” in the society over demonetization?
As the saying goes “no pain no gain’”. In the same way short-term constraints will be associated with long-term benefits in this process, such as all of sudden endeavor to convert currency, limitation of new tenders throughout the network for a certain period of time. An Inspiration story of a taxi driver, who sacrificed his share of money for a passenger carrying only Rs 500 notes, has set an example for fellow citizens. Furthermore he said “Even if I earn a little less money, it’ll slightly difficult to manage but that’s the case with everyone. I’ll consider this as my contribution to the country’s growth” [4]. Addressing the nation, Prime Minister of India provided assurance to the citizens, he quoted, “I want to tell the people again and again that the government will do everything to protect the honest” [5].

Why shouldn't we deposit money given by others, even if a share is given?
Firstly, it is illegal. However, if we still wish to pursue this option, chances are high to wind up in a tax fraud situation. According to revenue secretary Hashmukh Adhia, “Penalty of 200 percent of the tax payable would be levied if the cash deposited in bank accounts doesn't match with income declared” [6]. Also, it is unethical to exploit economically challenged people for individual’s benefit. On the other hand, currently certain agencies exist in the society, which converts unaccounted money into white for a mere profit up to 30%; one such route being used by them is: depositing money in the name of farmers as agricultural income, which will be non-taxed in India.

What the government still needs to work on?
The introduction of Rs 2000 note has been controversial in consideration of government’s efforts to suppress black money by eliminating bigger denomination currency, what might be the strategy? It still seems to be a missing part in a puzzle. The present demonetization process has laid trap for smaller rats; it has potential to break all illegal transactions in real estate, gold, and a few other sectors where circulation of unaccounted money has reached saturation point. However the dinosaurs are safeguarding their money overseas; recovering it should be the primary focus of the government. According to Wikipedia, “In February 2012, the director of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation said that Indians have US$500 billion of illegal funds in foreign tax havens, more than any other country [7]. Moreover, certain percentage of unaccounted money stocked in the form of valuable commodities such as gold has been secured in the vaults by certain section of people.


This is a comunity article contributed by Varshith J R
14 November 2016

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