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  • People queue to exchange and deposit their old high denomination banknotes outside a bank in Guwahati, India November 12, 2016.Reuters file
  • People queue up outside a bank to exchange demonetised Rs 1000 and 500 notes on Nov 17, 2016.IANS
  • People wait to enter a bank in Mumbai, India, November 10, 2016. The spike in bank deposits as a result of demonetisation of high-value currencies will also contribute to rising MF investments by retail investors but it is difficult to estimate the proportion, says Aashish P Somaiyaa, MD&CEO of Motilal Oswal Asset Management Company Limited.Reuters File
  • New Rs 500 denomination currency note.IANS
  • All denominations of currency notes will be reintroduced with new design and features.Twitter/RBI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "surgical strike" on black money in the form of scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8 has given an indication of how cash-hungry Indians are, notwithstanding the push for plastic. In a span of nine days, (November 10 and 18), Indians withdrew Rs 1,03,316 crore, or approximately $15.2 billion. 

"People have withdrawn from Nov 10 - 18, ₹ 1,03,316 crore from their accounts either over the counter or through ATMs," tweeted Arjun Ram Meghwal, minister of state for finance, on Monday.

Indians got a 50-day window (November 10 to December 30) to exchange the notes declared defunct on November 8 at banks and post offices.

The rush for withdrawing cash that is still prevalent in many parts of the country for commercial transactions has also resulted in some deaths at queues and other places, besides triggering a wave of protests by the opposition parties. 

The decision, referred to as demonetisation, has been criticised by some analysts and sections of the foreign media.

Ruchir Sharma, the chief global strategist of Morgan Stanley, wrote that India could have opted for a less radical step than creating an economic chaos.

"Scrapping large bills may destroy some hidden wealth today, but the black economy will start regenerating itself tomorrow in the absence of deeper changes in the culture and institutions that foster it," he said in a blog post.

The Economist also criticised the move. "The surprise scrapping of what amounted to 86% of the cash in circulation could, in fact, turn out to be the worst mistake of Mr Modi's career," the London-based weekly wrote. 

The impact of the move has also been felt by the stock markets and the Indian rupee that plunged to a nine-month low last Friday.

Analysts are also of the few that India, currently the world's fastest-growing economy, could experience a slowdown as a result of the consequence of Modi's "surgical strike."

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