Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said in a Facebook post that the government will soon make it mandatory for people using cash beyond a certain limit to provide their permanent account number. However, the endgame to tackle the menace of black money is to move towards the sort of cashless society that Jaitley mentioned in his most recent budget speech.
Cash use in India is still growing, if we look at the monetary statistics of the Reserve Bank of India. It is in contrast to many developed nations where digital platforms are on the verge of overtaking cash as the preferred payment mode. India needs to get there soon. The building blocks of a new system are already in place, from cards that can be linked to Aadhaar ID numbers to electronic payment systems for real time settlements to mobile banking to the new-generation payments banks to digital wallets. Cash has been king for too long. It is time to move ahead, for convenience as well as to crimp black money.