NEW DELHI: Not every demonetised rupee sent back to the Reserve Bank of India over the past month and a half will come back out. A substantial part of the paper money will vanish forever, deemed to have been converted into digital currency.
This has been confirmed by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley who said at the annual general body meeting of FICCI here today that not all of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore sucked up by the government through the demonetisation exercise will be spat back when the demons of demonetisation will have been behind India, whenever that is.
With critics of Narendra Modi's demonetisation gambit becoming bolder as we approach the Dec 30 deadline set by the government, Jaitley was still defending the move, calling the withdrawal of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes as "a somewhat courageous step".
In the same vein he want back to his own quote that he delivered in the first days of the whole episode: Demonetisation would create a "new Indian normal", he said, replacing the one that existed for seven decades.
However, he was not direct in confirming that not all cash withdrawn will be put back. In the usual roundabout way, he said, "One of the efforts of this exercise has to be that even though a reduced cash currency could remain, our conscious effort [is] to supplement the rest with a digital currency."
Some 17,165 million pieces of Rs 500 denomination and 6,858 million pieces of Rs 1,000 banknotes were in circulation on November 8 when the government decided to scrap them.