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Money flow into financial savings increased post note ban: Viral Acharya

Viral Acharya today said that post demonetisation, there has been a visible channelizing of money towards financial assets like insurance and mutual funds.

Reported by: IANS, Mumbai [ Published on: July 22, 2017 19:38 IST ]
File pic of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor
File pic of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor Viral Acharya

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor Viral Acharya today said that post demonetisation, there has been a visible channelizing of money towards financial assets like insurance and mutual funds. “It will take us many years to understand the outcome of demonetisation. I sense that in financial assets, something has changed as black money transactions are now not easy,” he said at the Delhi Economics Conclave 2017 here organised by the Finance Ministry.

"Insurance premium collection is on rise since November. If it continues, it will change the valuation of financial assets," Jaitley added.

There has been a non-linear shift since November-December last year, the Deputy Governor further said. Bond holding is not attractive for tax evasion, he said.

According to Acharya, people earlier a very clear intention to invest black money in real estate and gold. He said it would take many years to understand the real outcome of the November 8, 2016 demonetisation. However, former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff, who is presently at the Harvard University, pointed out that demonetisation was flawed in that it phased out high denomination notes overnight.

"Indian demonetisation was flawed in some respect. My book, 'The Curse of Cash', argues for taking five-seven years to phase out big bills. India did this almost overnight," he said.

Few people realise that it takes six months to one year to print a new currency supply due to technical difficulties in producing counterfeit resistant currency.

India's biggest problem was that it did not have nearly enough new notes in hand to exchange the old ones, Rogoff said. "My recommendation is to very gradually over 5-7 years eliminate large denomination notes. It is important to move slowly, so to avoid collateral damage," he said.

He argued that some countries had approached demonetisation in a better way like Europe phasing of 500 euro notes, Singapore's discontinuation of USD 10,000 notes and Australia on discontinuing USD 100. However, the Harvard professor said it will take years to judge the full impact of India's demonetisation move in accelerating electronic payments and the larger picture is that the government has done much to promote financial inclusion.

"The basic idea is to make it more difficult for people to carry out large scale transactions in cash for purposes of crime and tax evasion. The case for limiting use of cash is not a moral question but one of regulatory balance. It is important to be able to retain cash for privacy. The question is scale," he said.

"Indian demonetisation might yield long-run benefits but also shows things to avoid," he added.

Supporting government's Aadhaar initiative, Rogoff said that in advanced economies, mandatory biometrics, identification is not likely given concerns about privacy.

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