Nearly Rs 14 lakh crore has returned to the banking system since the announcement on demonetisation, CNBC-TV18 reported quoting sources on Monday afternoon.
The news came just minutes after the Centre’s Narendra Modi government performed yet another U-turn and reneged on its promise of 30 December deadline, when it imposed stringent restrictions on customers’ ability to deposit their old currency.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a sudden, move on Monday restricted deposit of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, worth more than Rs 5,000 into bank accounts, to only one time till 30 December.
Curiously, the finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, had once urged Indians to wait until the early rush outside banks and ATMs were over for them to be able to deposit their banned currency.
This is what the lawyer-turned-finance minister had said more than a month ago, just four days after the denometisation announcement.
He had said, “Everyone need not come to deposit notes in the beginning days itself, you have time till 30 December.”
Aside from Jaitley’s isolated statement, the BJP-led central government too had launched a huge ad campaign in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh ‘advising’ people not to show hurry in depositing their old currency.
Although these ads also promised people that they could exchange their old notes until 30 December, the rules on exchanging demonetised currency have since with scrapped.
Aman Sharma from Economic Times rightly pointed out the perceived hypocrisy through his tweet.
He wrote, “The least the Govt should do is to take down all such hoardings from petrol pumps across UP — the rules have changed completely since!”
The least the Govt should do is to take down all such hoardings from petrol pumps across UP — the rules have changed completely since! pic.twitter.com/sW7OMQligE
— Aman Sharma (@AmanKayamHai_ET) December 19, 2016
Many Indians, who still had old notes left with them, are now beginning to feel cheated by the central government, once again.
According to many pundits, the Modi government’s discomfort emanates from the response of the ordinary public, who have enthusiastically deposited their stashed cash into their accounts. The same public, who Modi had branded as hoarders of black money.
According to a reply by the junior finance minister, Arjun Ram Meghwal in Rajya Sabha, the total amount of high denomination currency circulating in the system on the day Modi made the announcement was, Rs 15.44 lakh crore (Rs 8.58 lakh crore in Rs 500 notes and Rs 6.86 lakh crore in Rs 1,000).
The window to deposit the demonetised currency notes was kept at 50 days.
It seems the fear of the entire so-called ‘black money’ returning to the system may have prompted the nervous government to announce harsh restrictions on deposits on Monday.
Modi had used the word ‘black money’ 18 times during his address to the nation on 8 November while desperately justifying his shock announcement on note ban.
The federal bank, it seems, has now deleted the release based on the deputy governor, R Gandhi, on the return of demonetised currency in the system.
Some experts believe that Modi government may even coerce the RBI to revise the announced figure on the overall currency deposited so far.
James Wilson says he stumbled upon something really unusual when he visited the RBI website. Not only had the federal bank removed the release on Gandhi’s announcement, it had also deleted the URL that gave access to press releases dated 7 December.
He wrote, “Yesterday I asked this question…There was a link to the transcript of Gandhi but when click URL NO DATA FOUND…. Today RBI became more smarter, they simply removed the URL too from the press releases dated 7/12/11. No reference to Patel/Gandhi presser!” (sic)
Today RBI became more smarter, they simply removed the URL too from the press releases dated 7/12/11. No reference to Patel/Gandhi presser! pic.twitter.com/Y3Hygmrf6X
— James Wilson (@jamewils) December 15, 2016
Nitin Pai, Director of Takshashila Institution, agreed and said that the development was ‘terrible for its institutional integrity.’
His tweet read, “Whatever the reason, RBI deleting its statements from its website is terrible for its institutional credibility.”
Whatever the reason, RBI deleting its statements from its website is terrible for its institutional credibility. https://t.co/2v4v9x4VDE
— Nitin Pai (@acorn) December 16, 2016
The RBI may have deleted the links to Gandhi’s presser replacing it with a more sanitised version, but eagle-eyed social media users have been able to dig out the trace of the original statement.
Twitter user, Vidyut published the statement in full on her blog page Aamjanta.com.
There’s a growing sense that the RBI, under pressure from the central government, may issue a revised data not just on the sum of the demonetised currency returned to banks but also other key data little later primarily to make Modi’s claims look good.
Else, the prime minister’s claims on black money to justify demonetisation are currently set to go for a toss.
Janta Ka Reporter made several attempts to contact the RBI for its reactions on deleted URL on Gandhi’s presser, but we weren’t successful. We will carry their reaction here as and when we receive them.