The plan to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was started about six months back with the main objective to root out black money from markets rather than weeding out fake Indian currency notes (FICN).
And only a handful of people — Principal Secretary Nripendra Mishra , erstwhile and present RBI Governors, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das — besides Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were kept in the loop since its implementation started two months ago, sources said. “That was the reason for our success that we were able to keep it under wraps. However, due to the sudden announcement, we expect certain implementation issues. We will know in the next 3 to 4 days how it rolls out,” said sources.
According to one official, the FICN volume was “not much of an issue” as the volume – estimated at Rs 400 to 500 crore — was “a small percentage of the currency in circulation”. “Siphoning out black money is the main objective, however, we do not have an estimate of it,” he said. “Plastic money promotion, for which we were working out combinations, was turning out to be an unwieldy exercise for the I-T department. The steps would lead to promotion of credit, debit cards and cheques,” said another official.
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