Demonetisation and Black Money
C. Rammanohar Reddy
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On 8 November 2016, India took the dramatic and unprecedented step of demonetising its high denomination Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes in an effort to ‘fight black money, eliminate counterfeit notes and stop terror funding’. The decision has prompted fierce and widespread debate. While proponents and opponents have argued on specific aspects of the policy, a holistic view has been absent from the debate.

This timely book takes a close look at the various facets of the demonetisation story. What was the rationale for Demonetisation 2016? Can it stamp out black money as promised? Were there other options, which would have avoided causing immense grief to countless Indians? What next after demonetisation?

The book also explores the drive to digitalisation of payments which post-demonetisation has emerged as an important point on the agenda of the government.  

This book has been written for every Indian—from the policymaker who would like to understand the lessons to be learnt from this exercise, to the scholar who wishes to understand the whys and whereof, to the citizen, who, bewildered by the turn of events, wants to know if the inconvenience that Demonetisation 2016 has caused will help the nation in any way.

C. Rammanohar Reddy is an economist who has been writing on economic policy since the late 1980s. He was Editor of the prestigious Economic and Political Weekly between 2004 and 2016. He is now Readers’ Editor,

List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
Foreword by Y. V. Reddy
Demonetisation 2016: An Unfolding Story
Section I
— one —
Black Money and the Black Economy
— two —
Size of the Black Economy in India
— three —
Size of the Shadow Economy in the World
— four —
Indian and Global Experiences with Demonetisation
Section II
— five —
Action on Black Money
— six —
Demonetisation 2016: Context and Options
Appendix: Estimate of Counterfeit Currency
— seven —

Demonetisation 2016: Design and Implementation
Appendix: Growth of High Denomination Notes
— eight —
Promotion of a ‘Less-Cash’ Economy
Section III
— nine —
Distress and Despair
— ten —
Black Money and Politics
Section IV
— eleven —
Cash, Money and Liquidity
— twelve —
Impact on the Banking System

— thirteen —
Impact on the Reserve Bank of India  
Appendix: On the RBI
— fourteen —
Demonetisation, Black Money and Gold
What Next?

I. Speech of the Prime Minister, 8 November 2016
II. Gazette Notification on Demonetisation
III. Speech of Dr. Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha
IV. Extract from 2012 White Paper


1. Demonetisation was a destructive distraction
2. Black hole of silence on Demonetization | Mint, New Delhi, November 2018
3. The rise and fall of the WTO | The Hindu, New Delhi, 26 December 2017
4. A Book PM Modi Should Read Now |, May 2017
5. As You Queued Up Quietly | Outlook, June 2017
6. Ways of the monied world | The Tribune, April 2017
7. Show Me the Money | The Indian Express, April 2017
1. INTERVIEW | Governance Now, April 2017 | “Criticism of demonetisation was not properly articulated. This made the other message dominant.”
2. INTEVIEW |, June 2017 | Demonetisation was a destructive distraction
3. MENTION | India Business Journal, June 2017
4. BOOK LAUNCH | Prajwani, May 2017
5. MENTION | The Tehelka, May 2017 | The Stack
6. INTERVIEW | The Wire, April 2017 | "The Government Seems to Have Disregarded the Immense Dislocation That Demonetisation Caused"
7. INTERVIEW | GovernanceNow, April 2017 | "Criticism of demonetisation was not properly articulated. This made the other message dominant."
8. BOOK LAUNCH | Business Line, April 2017 | “Demonetisation was a political gamble than an economic decision”
9. BOOK LAUNCH | The Hindu, April 2017 | Debate on demonetisation tomorrow
10. MENTION | Business Line, April 2017 | New Reads
11. MENTION | Deccan Herald, April 2017 | Book Rack
12. BOOK LAUNCH | The Hindu, March 2017 | Demonetisation: an economists analysis
13. INTERVIEW | The Hindu, March 2017 | Understanding Demonetisation
14. BOOK LAUNCH | The Hindu, March 2017 | “Centre was aware of disruption by demonetisation”
15. Black hole of silence on Demonetization | Mint, New Delhi, November 2018
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