Two years after the controversial demonetisation, Congress leader and former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh claimed that the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was ‘not for it’. According to minutes of the RBI board meet on November 8, 2016 at 5.30 pm, three hours before the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization, some directors said most of the black money was not in cash form. They said it was held in either real estate or gold and argued that demonetization would not have material impact on the assets. The Board of Directors included the present Governor Shaktikanta Das, who was then a director. The revelation comes at a time when the nation is preparing for the Lok Sabha elections in just a couple of weeks’ time.
Ramesh said the minutes of the RBI meet were obtained though Right to Information (RTI) application which was filed by an activist. He added that the minutes of the RBI Board meeting was not shared with the panels. Mr. Ramesh said “Now that the Modi government is in the departure lounge, these documents are coming out. This is just the first episode and there are many more to come.”
Ramesh described the demonetization as ‘the biggest assault on the economy’. He said ‘notebandi’ is the single most decision that destroyed the economy. “No economist can ever agree to it except some ‘quacks’ who are now in RBI.”
Demonetisation was proposed by the RBI deputy governor and backed by a note from the finance ministry. It provided a draft scheme for the withdrawal of the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes.
The centre had assured the RBI that it would take measures to contain the use of cash and promote financial inclusion as well as electronic mode of payment.