The day — November 8, 2016, will always be etched in the memory of millions of Indians. It was the day when a new word entered our vocabulary and our lives — demonetisation. In a historic move, the government of India put an end to the Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes in circulation.
Hailed as a bold move, demonetisation was met with mixed reactions. Today, nearly one and a half years after this disruptive step, let’s take a look at the positive impacts of demonetisation on the economy.
1. The Move towards a Digital Economy
India has always been a cash-based economy for eons. Post demonetisation, nearly 86% of the total currency in circulation was nullified. This meant that people finally had the impetus to shift to digital payments.
In a country, where internet penetration now reaches even the remotest corners and proliferation of Smartphones is at an all-time high, we were still using cash for a majority of our daily transactions. Post demonetisation, this changed big time.
Digital payments witnessed an exponential growth up to 40–70% compared to the 20–50% earlier. With further reforms from the government, today a vast majority of the Indian population, both urban and rural are using mobile apps and digital wallets to send and receive cash.
2. Black Money Reduced Significantly
Post demonetisation, nearly 9.1 million new taxpayers have been added to list, and the number of individual tax returns has reached an all-time high of 25.3%. More money entering the government coffers increases the availability of funds for various social and economic development projects.
Additionally, demonetisation helped to identify individuals who have been evading taxes for years. Nearly 17.92 lakh individuals have been reviewed by the tax department since their tax profiles and the cash deposits made after demonetisation were way out of sync.
3. Significant Boost to Financial Institutions
Post demonetisation, banks, and other financial institutions have seen a substantial increase in deposits. Nearly, 30 Crore families opened bank accounts for the first time using the Jan Dhan scheme and zero-balance deposits reduced from a massive 77% to 20% post-demonetisation.
All the excess cash in circulation has made its way into official channels. This meant that the interest rate cuts by the central government could be passed on to the borrowers.
Meaning, you can now avail business development loans and other financial products at affordable rates.
4. Deathblow to Shell Companies and Hawala Transactions
Post demonetisation, the government has shut down nearly 3 lakh shell companies, which were siphoning black money. This number was mentioned by our Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi in his speech during Independence Day.
5. Massive Shift in Investment Habits
For years, the primary method of savings for Indians was to stockpile cash notes at home or use bank fixed deposits. Post demonetisation, millions of investors are looking for alternative investment choices. This has led to the massive spike in popularity of equities and mutual funds.
Retail investors are gradually moving away from low-return investments like fixed deposits to high-yield options like mutual funds. Similarly, real estate has become streamlined and reduced cash-based investments significantly.
Additionally, life insurance premium collection has gone up to 113% post demonetisation.
There’s no arguing the fact that demonetisation is a reform of huge magnitude. And, it’s bound to have challenges on the way. But, it pays to be prudent and take a look at its outcomes on the economy in the long run. And, that has been hugely positive and boosted business growth in all sectors.