Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise announcement that he was cancelling 86% of the country’s cash overnight triggered weeks of panic and long lines of people trying to exchange or deposit their old notes.
The meandering lines have disappeared but India’s cash-driven emerging market is still suffering as the new bills haven’t reached every corner of the economy and consumers and companies are still struggling to shift more of their transactions to cashless payments.
A story in The Wall Street Journal Monday looked at an unlikely group of patriotic bikers, bureaucrats and Bollywood stars that is trying to speed the transition by boycotting cash. If rich folks can continue to spend but through checks, cards, money transfers and e-wallets, goes their thinking, then there will be more freshly-printed rupees for the poor who don’t have cashless options.
So how long will it be until the Indian economy returns to normal? Experts say it could take up to a year for the demonetization shock to work its way through the economy.
Here are a few figures to show just how far along India is in its war on cash.