The government is all set to thoroughly scan the deposits of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 which have been exchanged with the new currency. Senior officials of the government visiting the states and UTs to study the impact of the demonetization move, and also the problems faced by the people, have now been told to find out the ways adopted to get the black money cash exchanged, and suggest ways to deal with them.
Those who have found innovative ways to turn their black money kept in the demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes into white by getting them exchanged may end up facing the government wrath as finance ministry has told the committee of additional secretaries/joint secretaries/directors visiting the states and UTs to study the implementation of the demonetization move, announced on November 8 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to also find out such actions and suggest ways to deal with them.
The ministry had announced to set up separate groups of these senior officials for different states and UTs through an office memorandum on November 18.
With a focus on rural areas, they were asked to assess currency availability across ATMs and post offices, facilities available for deposit/withdrawal/exchange of currency, the status of calibration of ATMs for dispensing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and the impact of the decision on various segments.
In another memorandum issued on November 21, the ministry added: “The aim of the measure is to combat corruption, black money, counterfeit currency and terrorist financing. Officers shall be alert to any attempts being made to thwart these objectives and make specific practical suggestions to ensure the aim is achieved.”
Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi told the Supreme Court today that the banks have already received Rs 6 lakh crore in 10 days, which is expected to facilitate a reduction in the interest rates.
The biggest challenge before the government, though, would be to segregate the black money that has been turned into white through the exchange windows available in the demonetisation process.
While PM Modi may be hoping to show a big chunk of the over Rs 14 lakh crore cash in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 old notes prior to demonetization not coming back to the system, the real fight in the end may turn out to be the identification of the earlier unaccounted cash that has come into the system now.
It would be quite embarrassing for him and the government if the whole exercise fails to deliver considerable gains—the united opposition in that case, will try to make a big deal of the inconvenience caused to the people and businesses, in the budget session also.
It will not be surprising, therefore, if the government indulges in an extensive investigation of the cash deposited since November 10 in the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
So, just exchanging the unaccounted cash may not be a done deal.