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

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

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.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.