A crowd-sourced public database of reports of illegally stashed new currency notes has found that over ₹160 crore has been seized since new notes made it to the market.
Put together by a group of public policy enthusiasts, the database tracks news reports concerning the seizure of illegally stashed new currency notes from Manipur to Tamil Nadu and Gujarat to West Bengal. The database relies on news reports and social media updates from journalists and investigating authorities.
Meghnad S, a public policy professional leading the enterprise, said that what drove him to look at the issue was that news report of raids were pouring in prompting people to ask how the accused had acquired so much cash. "Our aim was to put all the reports together, including those by different authorites like the Income Tax agency and state police to estimate a total figure. We were also interested in inter-state comparisons, why some of the most populated states for instance have reported no raids," he said.
It would have taken 68,571 people to withdraw this amount by cheque, the database notes, or 457 days to withdraw the amount from ATMs. Stacked end-to-end the seized notes would cover 137 km or make it half-way from Delhi to Agra. Stacked on top of each other, the piles of new notes would be taller than a 25-floor building.
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