Demonetisation was thought to be a way of decreasing the misuse of money during elections but the ground reality is different, says OP Rawat, who retired last week as Chief Election Commissioner. More cash was seized after the notes ban related to previous elections, Mr. Rawat told news agency ANI.
“After demonetization, it was thought that misuse of money in elections will be brought down. But it couldn’t be proved on facts of the data of the seizures,” the former top election officer said.
“Compared to previous elections, there were more seizures in the similar states,” he revealed, referring to the five states where elections are presently on.
The facts come at the height of fierce political sparring over the merits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move on November 8, 2016, to ban Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 overnight, leaving 80 percent of the cash in circulation worthless.
At the time, the government stated it was an attempt to choke tax evaders who stashed black or untaxed money. In this year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) delivered the stunning news in a report that nearly all of the banned cash had returned to the system.
As the Congress and other opposition parties observed a black day on the demonetization anniversary last month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the notes ban had achieved its larger purpose of making India a tax compliant society and formalizing the economy.
OP Rawat retired on Saturday and handed charge to his successor Sunil Arora, who will preside over the all-important 2019 national election.