In another reply, the RBI has revealed it had no data on the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes used to pay for utility bills such as fuel at petrol pumps.
The demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, which saw 86 per cent of high-value currency going out of circulation, was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, even before formal approval by the RBI central board, an RTI query has revealed.
While the Urjit Patel-led RBI board had met just two-and-a-half hours before Modi’s announcement, the minutes of the meeting were signed by the RBI governor five weeks later on December 15, 2016.
Last year, the Indian Express had reported that according to the minutes of the 561st meeting of the RBI’s Central Board, which was convened hurriedly in New Delhi at 5.30 pm on November 6, the central bank’s directors described the move as “commendable” but also warned that demonetisation “will have a short-term negative effect on the GDP for the current year”.
The RBI board, which included the present Governor Shaktikanta Das as a director, had also observed that demonetisation would not have any material impact on tackling the black money menace or counterfeit currency — the prime objectives cited by the PM while announcing the move.
In another reply, the RBI has revealed it had no data on the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes used to pay for utility bills such as fuel at petrol pumps — payments that are anonymous and are believed to have formed a good part of the demonetised currency that returned to the banking system.
The RBI, in its annual report for 2017-18 on August 29, 2018, said that nearly all the money that was withdrawn returned to the banking system. The RBI said it had received Rs 15.31 lakh crore of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, or 99.3 per cent of the Rs 15.417 lakh crore worth of notes which were in circulation as on November 8, 2016.
Ramesh said if Congress came to power all abnormal flows from legitimate tax havens and abnormal deposits in cooperative banks would be probed. “The first thing that we will do when we come to power is restore the autonomy and independence of the RBI,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)