Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday slammed the government after the RBI said as much as 99.3 per cent of the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes have returned to the banking system, saying the Indian economy had suffered due to the notes ban by way of job loss, closure of industries and the GDP growth.
In a series of tweets, the former finance minister also said the RBI figure has suggested that the government had actually demonetised only Rs 13,000 crore and the "country paid a huge price" for it. "Indian economy lost 1.5 per cent of GDP in terms of growth. That alone was a loss of Rs 2.25 lakh crore a year. Over 100 lives were lost. 15 crore daily wage earners lost their livelihood for several weeks. Thousands of SME units were shut down. Lakhs of jobs were destroyed," he tweeted.
Chidambaram said every rupee of the Rs 15.42 lakh crore, barring a small sum of Rs 13,000 crore, has come back to the RBI. "I suspect that the bulk of the Rs 13,000 crore is currency in Nepal and Bhutan and some that was lost or destroyed. Remember who had said that Rs 3 lakh crore will not come back and that will be a gain for the government!?," he said.
As much as 99.3 per cent of the junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes have returned to the banking system, the RBI said on Wednesday, indicating that just a miniscule percentage of currency was left out of the system after the government's unprecedented note ban aimed at curbing black money and corruption.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which has taken an awfully long time to count the currency that was returned in the limited period window provided by the government to exchange or deposit the demonetised currency, said in its Annual Report for 2017-18 that the exercise is finally over. Of the Rs 15.41 lakh crore worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation on November 8, 2016, when the note ban was announced, notes worth Rs 15.31 lakh crore have been returned. This meant just Rs 10,720 crore of the junked currency did not return to the banking system.