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The RBI also said the value of banknotes in circulation stands at 18 lakh crore till the end of the last fiscal.

The RBI, after an awfully long period of counting of returned bank notes, said today that as much as 99.3% of the junked notes have returned to the banking system. The SBNs received were verified, counted and processed in the sophisticated high speed CVPS (currency verification and processing system) for accuracy and genuineness, and shredded and briquetted in the shredding and briquetting system, it said.

According to the report, after verification and reconciliation, the total value of the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes as on November 8, 2016, when demonetisation was announced, was Rs. 15.41 lakh crore. But RBI has said Rs 10,720 crore of the junked currency didn't return to the banking system. "In consonance, the use of digital payments, which had surged to a peak in December 2016 in the aftermath of demonetisation, fell back to the elevated post-demonetisation trend before rising in recent months", the RBI notes. "Remember who had said that Rs 3 lakh crore will not come back and that will be a gain for the government!", he said. For instance, parts of the Rs 10,000 crore could lie with money seized by law enforcement, cash still being held with district cooperative banks and in bank notes being held by citizens of Nepal and Bhutan.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram claimed that more than 100 lives were lost and lakhs of jobs were destroyed due to closure of businesses after demonetisation. Thousands of SME units were shut down. Instead, a new Rs 2,000 notes were introduced post note ban.

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The central bank's annual report that came out Wednesday - which includes an assessment of India's currency management, a subject that has a number of implications for the impact of demonetisation - lays out a few implications of how one of the Modi government's controversial decisions has played out almost two years later. The government, while announcing demonetisation, had also cited checking counterfeit notes as one of the reasons.

Now, that the statistics have been revealed the entire argument of Modi government that the exercise curbed black money that has been in circulation falls flat.

"Whether demonetisation has failed or not depends on its objective".

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. The share of Rs 2,000 notes by value has declined to 37.3% as on March 2018 as compared to 50.2% a year ago.


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