The eve of 8th November 2016, the nation India was glued to the television sets, as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the demonetization of Rs 1000 & Rs 500 currency notes circulating in the economy. The objective was to make a substantial dent in the parallel economy by getting track of the black money. Fake currency, money laundering, and terrorism were the other targets.
A year has passed since then, arguments and counter-arguments have been doing the rounds regarding the success or failure of this bold step of demonetization. No doubt the GDP took a dip in the second quarter of 2017. The GDP growth was at a three year low in the April-June period. Secondly, about 99%, of the demonetized currency came back into the system.
However, in spite of all the flaws in the implementation, it was a much needed bitter dose for the Indian economy. The money that came back into the system does not mean all of it was legitimate.
Even after 13 months since the demonetization was done, it is still early to analyze and pass the verdict. Our economy has moved towards a cashless environment, and this step deserves appreciation. Black money and tax evaders pose the biggest challenge for the Indian economy. Corruption is the menace that is decaying the Indian socio-economic fabric from top to bottom. Going cashless is the only way out.
Preferring digital form of payments has benefits not only for the economy but the citizens as well. You need not carry cash everywhere thereby eliminating chances of theft and inconvenience involved in carrying cash. Risk of receiving damaged or fake currency is also not there when we go cashless. The freedom to carry out transactions anytime and anywhere is also a benefit. You need not visit the bank and stand in long queues, even no need to visit the ATM or worry about the limitation of the working hours of the bank.
Tracking black money and putting a full stop to illegal transactions is beneficial for the citizens as well. In the form of taxes, the government will also have more funds to divert into the welfare schemes for the citizens. In the case of cashless economy/digital transactions, every transaction is tracked, transparency is maintained eventually leading to falling corruption. When all transactions are cashless and executed through the banks and financial institutions, it will lead to increased tax revenue for the government. It will bring an end to all illegal transactions that are purposefully cash based.
The cashless economy will ensure that all the benefits in the form of subsidies and scholarships are received by the actual beneficiaries only. Out of every rupee that the government allocates for the welfare schemes, a significant portion falls into the hands of the corrupt at all levels.
Cross-border terrorism is a menace that has been plaguing our country for long. Demonetization ended the cross-border fake currency and terrorism nexus.
A real cashless Indian economy is still far away but demonetization is the step in the right direction, and in the years to come, the citizens of this country will experience its benefits.