RBI says almost 99% demonetised currency returned, Chidambaram says 'shame'
India is the highest in the Forbes list with 69% bribery rate. Photograph: (AFP)
The Reserve Bank of India said on Tuesday that of the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, only 1.4 per cent Rs 1000 notes were not returned to its coffers.
In its annual report for 2016-17, India's central bank said that out of 632.6 crore pieces of the Rs 1,000 currency notes in circulation, 8.9 crore did not come back.
The RBI said that as of March 31, 2016, there were 1,570.7 crore Rs 500 notes in circulation while as of March 31, 2017, there were 588.2 crore of Rs 500 notes, both old and new in circulation.
Reacting to the report, former finance minister P Chidambaram said the fact that one per cent of the notes had failed to be returned was a "shame on RBI." He also alleged that the fact that 99 per cent notes were legally exchanged implied that demonetisation "was a scheme to convert black money into white"
He also claimed that the RBI had 'gained' Rs 16000 crore, but 'lost' Rs 21000 crore in printing new notes.
RBI 'gained' Rs 16000 crore, but 'lost' Rs 21000 crore in printing new notes! The economists deserve Nobel Prize.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) August 30, 2017
Rs 16000 cr out of demonetised notes of Rs 1544,000 cr did not come back to RBI. That is 1%. Shame on RBI which 'recommended' demonetisation— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) August 30, 2017
99% notes legally exchanged! Was demonetisation a scheme designed to convert black money into white?— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) August 30, 2017
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said demonetisation is nothing but a "disaster" and a scam which not only dented institutional sanctity of the RBI, but also credibility of India abroad.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government had on November 8, banned old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in an attempt to weed out black money in the country.
The old notes were allowed to be deposited in banks, with unusual deposits coming under income tax scrutiny.
The government replaced old Rs 500 notes with new ones. It has also printed new Rs 200 and Rs 50 notes. No replacement for Rs 1000 notes has been made. Instead, a new Rs 2,000 note was introduced after demonetisation.
The RBI said in its report that the cost of printing of currency notes more than doubled to Rs 7,965 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 3,421 crore in the previous year on account of new currency printing.