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Did the demonatisation gamble work? As what Arun Jaitley put, When currency replacement takes place, initial inconvenience takes place, but there is not a single major incident in the country, there are no riots in India which in itself is a proof of success of the execution. Did it achieve it’s goals? May be. There are a thousand good things which can be said because of this – normalcy in Kashmir, lesser incidence of robberies, cash surplus with banks and projected lower interested rates. There were some pain areas like the stock market, market areas and real estate, but we will have to wait and watch to understand what’s happening in those areas.
India is too huge a country to handle. Probably, never before in world history, people more than 100 million queued for anything which is not an election. This is a sort of scenario, which no amount of planning would have made it watertight in execution. The only thing is a decent execution plan and a steeper learning curve. But, is the curve steep enough? It’s but a matter of conjecture. A few points below, would have made the life easier for the government and the people and have made the transition smoother. How many of them are practical and how many or not, how many I missed, it’s for the more competent to decide.
1. The difference between 100 and 2000 is very huge. Making a transaction of say, 800 rupees is a very tough task for both the seller and the buyer. 500 should have been introduced before 2000 rupee note. Or is it that 500 is stopped to avoid any leakage of information?
2. The government should have thought about cross bank deposits. Had this been effected somehow, the lines would have been cut down drastically.
3. Instead of taking a paper form and updating the currency note numbers on that, every bank/post office should have been provided a portal to enter the details regarding the transactions. This will help reduce conversion multiple times and FICNs.
4. The government itself should have created an app showing the real time cash status of every ATM. This shouldn’t have been a crowdsourced, private initiative.
5. Instant account openings and deposit should have been thought about. After all, what is needed is an Aadhar linked fingerprint scanner.
6. Cooperative Bank issue was unwarranted. When all the banks were closed on 8th, a sweep should have been initiated all over the country to collect all 500 and 1000 rupee notes stashed with the banks, counted and shredded at a consolidation point, may be in every district. When you force everyone to start with a clean slate, past dated transactions wouldn’t have happened and we would have seen much more points for exchange.
7. Instead of forcing the hoarders to destroy their currency, a provision for anonymous donation to a select welfare funds like PM Relief Fund should have been provided. That will force governments to jack up the reserves without they being used anywhere.
8. Recaliberating the machines should have been done at a faster pace. Or rather, a plan for construction of new machines should have been initiated as a part of the same program since most of the ATM machines we have today needs to be replaced in the near future.
9. Is it worth investing effort to take down those who still hold paper currency in old notes? After all, it is going to be a scrap of paper if not deposited.

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