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On November 8th, the Narendra Modi government took the country by surprise by announcing a large scale currency reform: making invalid all Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes, accounting for 86% of currency in circulation, and pushing the country’s inadequate banking infrastructure to replace most of them with new Rs500 and Rs2,000 notes.

ALSO READ | Demonetisation: Normalcy restored to a large extent, says Arun Jaitley

The switch has caused huge pain to millions of people, who have lost countless hours standing in queues and giving up income and consumption in varying degrees in a primarily cash-based economy. The dominant rationale for such a move, even though that has been changing over the weeks, is that a good percentage of the currency will never come back into the system, because people hoarding them will prefer not to bring it back, and the suddenness with which it was announced will make laundering too difficult.

Fifty days on, the period sought by Modi to stabilise this operation, where are we in terms of restoring normalcy?

ALSO READ | Rahul Gandhi questions PM Modi on note ban a day ahead of address

The 50-day period of demonetisation saw a cat and mouse game between hoarders trying to convert their black money into white, and the government introducing new rules to make it difficult. It was a time marked by very little data, constantly changing rules, a shift in focus from black money and fake currencies to digital payments, an overdose of opinion from all quarters and widespread difficulties. The interactive below traces the major developments in demonetisation during this 50-day period.

As money came into the system for exchange or as deposits, there are big questions. What percentage of it has been laundered? How will the government follow it up? What new measures will the government will take to ensure such a pile up doesn’t happen again? Some answers should unfold in the coming days.

Meanwhile, take a look at how much of these Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes were returned to banks in the last 50 days.

howindialives.com is a database and search engine for public data

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