Skip to main content

Demonetization led to economic disruption in India, other "significant harms"; adult banking just 53%: Brookings

By Our Representative
A top Washington DC-based institute in its new report on financial and digital inclusion has sharply criticized the Government of India (GoI) for its demonetization move of November 8, 2016, underlining that the “abrupt announcement led to economic disruption and other significant harms.”
Among the “other significant harms” the report – titled “The 2017 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report: Building a secure and inclusive global financial ecosystem”, and authored by Robin J Lewis, Jogh D Villasenor, and Darrell M West – notes include “incidences of suicide, trampling, heart attacks, and denial of health care due to inability to pay with the demonetized currency.”
Giving short detail of how the demonetization was announced by declaring notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 void at midnight, the report contests the GoI claim that “the aims of the drive included curbing corruption and advancing digital financial services.”
The harmful effects of demonetization happened, the report says, even though “the drive did appear to lead to a significant increase in deposits in individuals’ accounts within the month of the announcement.”
Pointing out that “experts hold diverging views on whether the drive will have long-term benefits, including in terms of leading to greater engagement with digital financial services and in curbing corruption”, the report insists, “More time is needed to determine the full consequences of the initiative.”
Against huge claims following demonetization that India has moved forward towards universal banking and a sharp upward swing in mobile transactions, the report states, in India, “unique mobile subscribership” is 53%, “financial account ownership among adults” is 53%, and “financial account ownership among women” is 43%.
Assessing the financial inclusion moves of the GoI, the report says, its “formal commitment milestones” include the launching of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana programme in 2014, joining the Better than Cash Alliance in September 2015, issuing provisional payments bank licenses to diverse entities, including nonbank institutions such as India Post, in August 2015, and so on.
Scoring India 72% on a scale of 100, among the 26 developing nations assessed, the country ranks worse than 12 other countries. Kenya ranks the best with 86% and Brazil comes next with 79%. Other countries which score better than India include South Africa (78%), Uganda (78%), Colombia 78%, Rwanda (76%), Philippines (76%), Chile (74%), Nigeria (74%), and Turkey (73%).
The only consolation for India is, it’s the two neighbours which are part of the assessment, Pakistan and Bangladesh, rank worse, with a score of 69% and 66%.
Among the steps the report recommends to improve its financial inclusion rate include implementing and scaling “financial capability initiatives to reduce account dormancy rates”, incentivizing “adoption of digital payments at merchant locations to enhance the digital financial services ecosystem”, and “monitoring the effects of the demonetization initiative, particularly with respect to underserved groups.”

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why convert growing badminton popularity into an 'inclusive sports opportunity'

By Sudhansu R Das  Over the years badminton has become the second most popular game in the world after soccer.  Today, nearly 220 million people across the world play badminton.  The game has become very popular in urban India after India won medals in various international badminton tournaments.  One will come across a badminton court in every one kilometer radius of Hyderabad.  

Faith leaders agree: All religious places should display ‘anti-child marriage’ messages

By Jitendra Parmar*  As many as 17 faith leaders, together for an interfaith dialogue on child marriage in New Delhi, unanimously have agreed that no faith allows or endorses child marriage. The faith leaders advocated that all religious places should display information on child marriage.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

Ayurveda, Sidda, and knowledge: Three-day workshop begins in Pala town

By Rosamma Thomas*  Pala town in Kottayam district of Kerala is about 25 km from the district headquarters. St Thomas College in Pala is currently hosting a three-day workshop on knowledge systems, and gathered together are philosophers, sociologists, medical practitioners in homeopathy and Ayurveda, one of them from Nepal, and a few guests from Europe. The discussions on the first day focused on knowledge systems, power structures, and epistemic diversity. French researcher Jacquiline Descarpentries, who represents a unique cooperative of researchers, some of whom have no formal institutional affiliation, laid the ground, addressing the audience over the Internet.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".