• 13 June 2024

Unraveling India’s Demonetization: A Closer Look at the Controversial Move

Jul 17, 2023

India’s Demonetization is a bold move to transform the economy. In a landmark decision that sent shockwaves across the nation, India embarked on a historic journey of demonetization. On the fateful night of November 8, 2016, the government made a momentous announcement to demonetize all ₹500 and ₹1,000 banknotes, effectively nullifying 86% of the country’s cash in circulation. This unprecedented move aimed to tackle corruption, black money, counterfeit currency, and the funding of illegal activities, while simultaneously promoting a digital economy and formalizing the financial sector. As the nation grappled with the immediate impact and long-term implications, India’s demonetization stood as a bold and contentious measure with far-reaching consequences for its people, economy, and future

Why RBI has decided to withdraw 2000 notes in 2023?

  • The issuance of Rs 2,000 notes during demonetization was necessary to address the liquidity crunch caused by the withdrawal of a significant portion of the currency in circulation.
  • However, the circulation of these high denomination notes led to challenges such as hoarding by black marketeers and difficulties in obtaining an adequate supply for banks, highlighting the need for a balanced approach in the future.

Before, we dig deeper into the pros, cons and necessity of Demonetization in India in 2016 and 2023, lets look at some interesting and through provoking stats about Demonetization in India.


Provoking stats of demonetization

In summary, 

⦁ Over 8.4 million high-value banknotes were demonetized in India in 1946, marking one of the earliest instances of demonetization in the country’s history.

⦁ The 2016 India’s Demonetization led to an estimated temporary decline in GDP growth by up to 2 percentage points during the demonetization quarter, impacting the overall economic output.
⦁ Approximately 3.5 million jobs were reportedly lost in the three months following the 2016 demonetization, highlighting the short-term negative impact on employment in various sectors.
⦁ The revised GDP series released in 2019 revealed that India’s real GDP growth in the fiscal year 2016-2017 reached 8.2%, the highest since 2011-2012. This suggests a potential offsetting effect from rapid economic growth in non-demonetization quarters.
⦁ Anecdotal evidence suggests that demonetization may have disproportionately affected poorer households in the informal sector, raising concerns about its distributional impact and potential unintended consequences on vulnerable populations.
⦁ Generally, research indicates that demonetization in India led to an increase in tax collection, highlighting the potential positive impact on curbing black money and enhancing tax compliance.

Understanding Demonetization

India’s recent withdrawal of 2000-rupee currency notes is being viewed as a “mini-demonetization” driven by potential political motives to combat corruption and disrupt opposition party funding. However, this move is not anticipated to have substantial impacts on monetary policy or disrupt the economy. Moreover, the declining inflation and conclusion of the monetary tightening cycle are positive factors that contribute to the stability of the stock market, drawing the interest of foreign investors towards Indian equities.

Objectives of Demonetization:
⦁ Stopping circulation of black money.
⦁ Reducing interest rates in the banking system.
⦁ Promoting a cashless economy.
⦁ Formalizing the informal Indian economy.
⦁ Eliminating counterfeit notes.
⦁ Reducing anti-social activities and their finances.
Examples: U.S. silver demonetization, Zimbabwean dollar demonetization, euro introduction.

Negative Impacts of Demonetization

Negative impacts of demonetization


  • Minimizes fraudulent financial practices.
  • Reduces tax evasion and boosts tax revenue.
  • Fosters innovation and digital transactions.
  • Enhances transparency and reduces crime.


⦁ Inconvenience for citizens during the conversion process.
⦁ Short-term impact on GDP growth.
⦁ Costly administrative measures and logistical challenges.
⦁ Negative impact on cash-driven sectors.
⦁ Introduces new currency-related risks, such as cybercrime.

Other Uses of Demonetization:
Denying payment to content creators on social media platforms due to policy violations or algorithm changes.

Comprehensive Timeline
Why Demonetization? Uncovering the Motivations for Change:

1946: Demonetization of Rs 500, Rs 1000, and Rs 10,000 Notes
The British government and RBI governor Chintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh initiated demonetization due to World War II and rising black market operations.
Rs 500, Rs 1000, and Rs 10,000 currency notes were demonetized through two ordinances.

1978: Demonetization of Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000, and Rs 10,000 Notes
The Wanchoo Committee and the Janata Party government led to the demonetization of these high-denomination notes.
The decision aimed to combat black money and control illegal transactions.

2014: Withdrawal of Pre-2005 Banknotes
The RBI announced the withdrawal of all banknotes issued before 2005.
These notes lacked security features present in later currency, encouraging people to exchange them at banks.

2016: Demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 Notes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the demonetization of these notes in a televised address.
The move aimed to curb black money, counterfeit currency, and illegal activities.

2023: Withdrawal of Rs 2,000 Notes

The RBI’s clean note policy led to the decision to withdraw Rs 2,000 notes from circulation. These notes will remain legal tender until September 30, 2023, allowing the public to deposit or exchange them at designated locations.

Supreme Court Verdict on Demonetization:

  • The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality and legality of the 2016 demonetization.
  • The decision divested Rs 15.4 lakh crore of currency of its legal tender status.

Government Benefits of Demonetization in India:
Curbed black money by identifying and scrutinizing unaccounted wealth.
Expanded the tax base by encouraging formal economy participation and improving tax compliance.
Moreover, promoted digital payments, reducing cash dependence and enhancing transparency.

Citizen Benefits of Demonetization in India:

  • Promoted financial inclusion by encouraging bank account opening and digital payment adoption.
  • Enhanced transparency in financial transactions, making illegal activities more difficult.
  • Deterred corruption by making it harder to accumulate and use unaccounted wealth.
  • Generally, boosted digital literacy, empowering citizens with technological skills.
  • Supported government welfare schemes through increased tax revenue.
  • Overall, demonetization in India aimed to curb black money, formalize the economy, and benefit both the government and citizens. It fostered transparency, financial inclusion, and digital literacy while deterring corruption and supporting welfare initiatives.

The Crux of Demonetization in India : Impact and Analysis

Explore the significant aspects and outcomes of demonetization in India. Generally, from the original objectives to the economic costs, this article delves into the key factors surrounding this transformative policy. Moreover, discover the impact on digital payments, tax collection, formalization of the economy, and more. While, unveiling the crux of demonetization, we analyze its effects and evaluate its success.

Original Objectives and Expectations

  • Purging unaccounted cash and combatting corruption
  • Insights from Prime Minister Modi’s speech and economists’ viewpoints

The Reality Check: Cash Returns and Tax Collection

  •  Analysis of deposits made during demonetization period
  •  Demonetized currency returned to banks and its implications
  •  Evaluation of tax collection trends pre and post demonetization

Impact on Digital Payments and Cash Usage

  • Role of demonetization in promoting digital transactions
  • Growth of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and its significance
  • Assessment of cash-GDP ratio and its implications

Formalization of the Economy

  • Post-demonetization reduction in the informal sector’s share.
  • Consideration of the benefits and challenges of formalization
  • Policy interventions and their effects on employment and businesses

Evaluating Costs and Preparedness

  • Examination of the Reserve Bank of India’s readiness and challenges
  • Impact on output, employment, and the informal sector
  •  Analysis of interest rates, credit conditions, and unemployment rates

 Assessing the Overall Outcome

  • Demonetization’s limited success in achieving objectives.
  • The mixed impact on tax collection and GDP growth.
  • The long-term effects on digital payments and formalization.

Moving Forward: Lessons Learned and the Promise of a Resilient Future

As the dust settles on the tumultuous wave of demonetization, furthermore, it is time to weave together the threads of its impact and contemplate the road that lies ahead.
Generally, India’s demonetization journey has been a tapestry of triumphs and challenges. While the full realization of curbing undisclosed income and clandestine wealth may have been elusive, we must celebrate the progress made in the form of increased digital transactions and the growth of formalization. Generally, these petals of resilience have emerged from the storm of disruption.
As we continue on this path, generally, it is crucial for our policymakers to learn from the lessons and move forward with discernment. In addition, let us focus on larger denomination bills, fostering a symphony of vigilance against financial irregularities. By harmonizing economic stability and societal well-being, furthermore, our future demonetization efforts can create a transparent and inclusive financial landscape.
Moreover, in our journey through economic reforms, we must cherish the melody of open dialogue and informed discourse. Generally, it is within these conversations that we shape a prosperous and equitable future, where all souls find solace and prosperity. The logical pie blog team remains hopeful, envisioning these discussions and policies as seeds for a robust and resilient Indian economy, blooming with abundance for all to cherish.

Also read https://thelogicalpie.com/index.php/2023/08/03/economic-crises-world-wars-and-the-global-recession

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