I called up the Cash Officer of a local nationalized bank and asked her “ Madam, when people deposited demonetized notes after Nov 8th, did you not give an account to RBI?”
“Of course we did” she said, “we have given a daily tally of how many Rs 500 and how many Rs 1000 notes were received at our branch.”
This is not fiction. You can call up your bank branch and ask. The sum total of the daily tally that the banks generated are already in the RBI computers.
Now compare this with what our honorable RBI Governor said before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance. Pleading to a lack of counting machines and shortage of working hours, the Governor said he can’t say when he would finish counting.
Finish counting? But why is he counting in the first place?
There could be only three reasons:
One, the number of notes that were returned were almost as much as the notes in circulation on Nov 8. That would mean that Mr Modi was wrong and the whole Demonetization Exercise achieved nothing in terms of unearthing black money.
Two, the number of notes that were returned were more than the notes in circulation. This would mean that a whole lot of fake currency came back to the banks to be laundered into white.
And three, the RBI Governor is a cautious man who does not trust the bank tallies and has now embarked upon a day-and-night exercise of counting the notes himself.
My guess is it’s a mix of two and three. Fake currency holders, either brazenly or innocently have deposited currency back into the system. Along with holders of black money, who simply found “mules” to carry small deposits on their behalf into the vaults of the RBI. When finally totaled, the daily tallies of the bank shocked the wits out of the government and the central bank. The grand design with which our 56 inch leader had made his announcement had now fallen flat on its face. And the Governor, not knowing what to do, started playing for time. Hoping that people will forget the whole thing and stop asking him how much of the notes came back.
But people will not stop asking the government and the RBI this question. Because lives were lost, jobs were lost, businesses were destroyed and the whole country suffered collectively. All for the sake of one man’s grand ego.
Until the nation has this answer, the RBI Governor will have to keep counting.