How PM Narendra Modi’s Cash Ban Was Planned And Executed




On Tuesday night, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the shock withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes circulation, just a handful of people were not surprised.

As part of a group of advisors, they had spent six months carefully planning the biggest attempt ever in India to check black money.

The Prime Minister had become convinced in the spring that he needed a headline-stealing move to underline his determination to check rampant tax evasion and settled on scrapping the two highest denomination bills.

Only Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Reserve Bank of India Governor and a few close officials were in the know until the very last minute, according to newspaper reports.
It was when they opened it, as PM Modi was speaking, that they learnt about the new 500 rupee note, the paper added.

RBI chief Urjit Patel has said production of the new notes had been “ramped up” to meet requirements but Pradip Shah, who helped set up India’s HDFC bank, said it would be a “nightmare” getting money to some rural areas.

“A lot of people are going to be inconvenienced,” he told news agency AFP.

With the glare of the world on the US election, PM Modi chose to deliver his bombshell announcement in a rare address to the nation barely three hours before the order to close banks and ATMs came into force.

Once the queues had trudged away from the millions of ATMs around the country with now precious 100-rupee bills, the task began of refilling the machines with the new currency.

Trucks laden with cash started delivering the notes the length and breadth of the country.

Almost 90 percent of transactions in India are done with cash while 500 and 1,000 notes currently account for more than 85 percent of the value of cash in circulation, according to research firm Capital Economics.