'After demonetisation, it was thought that misuse of money during elections will be brought down. But it couldn't be proved on basis of the data of the seizures.'
Two years after the announcement of demonetisation, former Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said that there is no proof that the note-ban curbed misuse of money during elections. He said that compared to previous elections, there were more seizures in same states during polls after demonetisation.
“After demonetisation, it was thought that misuse of money during elections will be brought down. But it couldn’t be proved on basis of the data of the seizures. Compared to previous elections, there were more seizures in the same states,” OP Rawat was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“It seems political class and their financiers have no dearth of money. Money used in this manner is generally black money. As far as black money used in elections is concerned, there was no check on it,” he added.
OP Rawat was the 22nd CEC under whom the Election Commission of India held several state polls including Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat along with presidential and vice-presidential polls. He retired on December 1.
OP Rawat’s comments confirm larger public perception about demonetisation having no impact on the use of black money during polls. FE Online had earlier reported that 60% of Indians believed that demonetisation had no impact on the black money in the country; in fact, its circulation is going to only increase before the 2019 General Elections.
While announcing demonetisation on November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made special emphasis on curbing black money by banning high-value notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. In his hour-long speech, the prime minister mentioned black money 18 times.
The government came under sharp criticism when the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) annual report for 2017-18 showed that 99% of the banned note came back to the system. However, the government defended its decision by saying that the note-ban helped in increasing direct tax collection of the government.
“The impact of Demonetisation has been felt on collection of personal income tax. Its collections were higher in Financial Year 2018-19 (till 31-10-2018) compared to the previous year by 20.2%,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a Facebook note written on the second anniversary of demonetisation.