A whopping 60% Indians said that black money in the country has not died; in fact, its circulation is going to only increase before the 2019 General Elections, a survey by LocalCircles showed.
Two years of demonetisation: Two years ago, when 125 crore Indians glued to their television screens desperately awaiting a surprise address by the Prime Minister of India, little did they know that he was going to announce a ban on bank notes which made up 86% of the total currency circulation.
In a televised address to the nation on November 8, 2016, Narendra Modi announced demonetisation with a special emphasis on it being a step taken to curb black money. He used the word ‘black money’ 18 times in his hour-long speech, while there was no mention of digitisation, cashless economy or income tax.
“To break the grip of corruption and black money, we have decided that the five hundred rupee and thousand rupee currency notes presently in use will no longer be legal tender from midnight tonight, that is 8th November 2016,” Modi said. “The five hundred and thousand rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper,” he added.
Now after two years, the jury is back with a judgment on demonetisation: A whopping 60% Indians said that black money in the country has not died; in fact, its circulation is going to only increase before the 2019 General Elections, a survey by LocalCircles showed.
“If the citizen pulse via this survey is to be believed, a majority of the citizens think that black money is back to full scale and with the 2019 elections coming up, its circulation will only increase,” LocalCircles, which conducted the survey on over 15,000 participants in 215 districts, said.
However, 40% of the people also said that demonetisation has been able to bring tax evaders under the tax net, while 25% said there was no benefit at all. A mere 13% thought it curbed black money circulation and about 23% said the note-ban led to higher direct tax collection.
The government has been attributing the surge in the direct tax collection to demonetisation. Nevertheless, analysts believe that it was a mix of multiple big and small steps taken by the government ever since it has come to power, and not just demonetisation.
Other findings of the survey conducted by LocalCircles are even more damning. About 39% Indians said that they purchased items without a receipt every second time. A majority of Indians also said that they purchased property via cash or partly by cash in the last 12 months.
“…while demonetisation had temporarily disrupted the real estate sector in 2017… people are now saying that the use of black money has risen in 2018, and is back to the pre-demonetisation levels,” LocalCircles added.