Remember demonetisation? That "phenomenon", which happened November last year, when Prime Minster Narendra Modi effectively killed 86 per cent of the Indian currency that amounts to approximately Rs 14 lakh crore, by decreeing the high-value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 unusable?
If Indians were to jog their memories, they would recall that the 25-minute-long speech that PM Modi gave on November 8, referred to “black money” a whole lot.
The entire nation was almost crippled by this decision made for the “greater good”, and yet here we stand eight months later and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) still hasn’t managed to count the amount of money that was deposited back into the system to eradicate “black money”.
RBI governor Urjit Patel appeared before a parliamentary panel chaired by senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on July 12, and said that the deposited demonetised notes are still being counted.
This is the second time Patel has appeared before the panel - the first being in January - and in a more than a three-hour long meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, Patel was not able to provide any substantial answers.
According to a PTI report, many panel members were reported to have expressed dissatisfaction with his replies.
Moily told PTI that the committee will present its report on demonetisation in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, scheduled to start on July 17, and that the RBI governor will not be called again on the note ban issue.
According to Patel, the process of counting old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes goes on continuously for six days in a week. In fact, he claims that the RBI has cut down on holidays to complete counting of the demonetised currency notes. Additionally, he said that apart from Saturdays, many other holidays have also been suspended in order to complete counting of the scrapped notes.
Back in June, finance minister Arun Jaitley had said there can be no timeline for the RBIs counting process.
DailyO has a working theory as to why this is so:
Urjit Patel may have thought it was this easy to count approxiametely 23 billion unusable banknotes:
But if any amount of reality is to be considered, this is probably how it went:
After which all you can think of is, even if one does finish counting all the notes - a pile that would end up being taller than 300 Mt Everests, if they are stacked one on top of another. Seriously, what is one supposed to do with that many useless pieces of paper?
But whatever be their decision, it is not really difficult to imagine what the poor RBI chief must be feeling at this moment: tired. After all, there are only so many notes one can count.
In any case, even the PM doesn't probably believe that this exercise may have had even the slightest success with black money problems - after all, he turned the whole narrative around to Digital India. So, why should anyone be concerned anymore?