ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Repercussions of Protracted Currency Shortage across Two Models of Financial Inclusion in India

Following the announcement of demonetisation on 8 November 2016, India saw the withdrawal of nearly 86% of the cash in circulation. This caused prolonged currency shortages and impacted employment, sales, income, loan payback capacity, savings and by extension, financial inclusion. A survey conducted among two distinct groups in Mumbai and Pune, three months after demonetisation, in April–May 2017, reveals the adverse impact of currency shortages on the incomes and livelihoods of those employed in tiny, informal enterprises. With a decline in the sales in their businesses, their income and savings fell, and so did the demand for credit.

Tax on Agricultural Income

A 2019 Comptroller and Auditor General report has brought out glaring irregularities in the exemptions given to agricultural income for income tax purposes. Exempting large income on agriculture from taxation not only makes the agricultural sector a conduit for money laundering and concealment of black money, but also holds back the much-needed modernisation and reform of the sector. Although everyone agrees on the desirability of taxing agricultural income, successive governments have shied away from it for electoral reasons.

The Curious Case of PAN–Aadhaar Linkage

The Government of India’s justification for removing any distinction between a permanent account number allotted based on the Aadhaar and one allotted based on identification documents other than Aadhaar is examined. The government claims that this measure will end black money and money-laundering. Whether Aadhaar linkage to PAN truly identifies those holding financial instruments and undertaking financial transactions and whether it will save India the embarrassment of incorrect reporting as part of the nation’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and Common Reporting Standard obligations are explored.

What is the Story of Black Money in India?

Ill-conceived policy and weak laws aid the flow of unaccounted money in India.

A Post-Keynesian Approach to Understanding the Black Economy

Macroeconomics of the Black Economy by Saumen Chattopadhyay, Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2018; pp xx + 276, ₹ 795.

Did Demonetisation Accelerate Financial Inclusion?

The claim that removing cash would improve financial access for the poor has become a fallback argument for demonetisation, despite notebandi failing to achieve its other objectives. Like many other arguments made for abolishing cash in favour of digital payments, this claim does not stand up to scrutiny.

Notes from India’s State Border Highways: Changing Rules, Institutional Corruption and Hoping for Too Much from GST

This essay looks at institutionalised corruption and its effect on Indian roadways, especially the Golden Quadrilateral. Despite higher speeds, delays of crossing states borders nullifies gains from speed. Will the goods and services tax change things?

Bringing Money Back

Estimate of illicit financial outflows and the demand to repatriate these are fraught with issues. First, there can be reversals in direction of flows of illicit money thereby making it tough to ascertain undeclared wealth held abroad. Second, even if the money is traced by the authorities of country, institutional impediments may prevent repatriation. Third, once such money is repatriated it may be more useful to employ these to set up trade transparency units.

India’s Marie Antoinette Moment

Narendra Modi’s promotion of a “cashless society” shows the government’s disconnect from ground realities, and harks back to Marie Antoinette’s famous “let them eat cake” response to learning that peasants had no bread to eat. Clearly, a cashless or less-cash economy will not be achievable in the near future, and may also not be desirable.

Economic Rationale of ‘Demonetisation’

The government’s claims about the fruits of “demonetisation” of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes are analysed. The five claims—fighting terrorism, “black money,” gaining fiscal space, reducing interest rates, formalising informal economy—are scrutinised from an economics perspective.

Demonetisation: 1978, the Present and the Aftermath

In the context of the demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes, the issuance of currency and its different denominations are traced over time, while also tracking key macroeconomic features of India's changing economy over the decades. Further, the possible immediate and longer term economic effects of demonetisation are discussed.

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