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When the currency swap initiative was announced on 8 November, there was speculation about its impact on the five assembly elections running from February through March.
The role of black money in elections is no secret. But if seizures made by the surveillance teams that the Election Commission appointed are anything to go by, the currency exchange exercise hasn’t made a dent: record amounts of cash, liquor and drugs have been found.
While there are other factors to consider such as better enforcement and raids, the development doesn’t bode well.
It shows just how difficult it is to clean up electoral finance in India. The measures announced in the budget are a step in the right direction—the idea of electoral bonds is intriguing, even if it remains to be seen how exactly it will work in implementation.
That said, plenty of loopholes remain. The central government has sent a positive signal by addressing the issue, but much remains to be done.