When the news item, “Cash
is still king as circulation nears pre-demonetisation
level: Report” (July 3) informs that 86 per cent of cash
is back in the Indian economy, it is the time to bring down the curtains on the negative discussions about the fate of demonetisation.
The continental size of the country, the poor banking infrastructure especially in rural areas, resistance of traders/unorganised sector to be above board in their transactions, illiteracy, abysmal poverty especially in rural/ tribal areas, and short learning time given to switch to mobile banking — short circuiting the debit cards usage stage — and not taking Opposition parties on board, all appear to have connived to defeat the government’s sincere efforts to make India a cashless economy. Was the goal too high?
However, it is important to acknowledge that the demonetisation
exercise has unleashed the forces — both on technological as well as strategic levels — which are constantly challenging the idea of need for huge cash
in the economy and are focussing on deconstructing the pathways leading to the same generating new learnings in the process. It will be a double whammy if the regained high levels of cash
in the economy discourage the central government from continuing its vigorous efforts in rightly curbing high cash
usage. The government has correctly curtailed usage of cash
in high-value transactions and must continue its efforts here.
What it may need is to make the entire issue bipartisan by creating a high-powered commission having multidisciplinary teams to make efforts to legitimately reduce cash
in the economy. Inviting a political economy giant to head the commission will take the country forward in becoming a less cash
economy in the medium term, which itself is no mean goal.
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