Notes abolition: Modi takes even Cabinet by surprise


New Delhi: The Cabinet meeting last evening was supposed to begin at 7 PM. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not arrive for the meet until 7:45 PM.

exclusiveOn arrival, the prime minister shared with his colleagues the decision to meet what had been a demand of many anti-corruption crusaders. Modi had by then got the idea fine tuned by the Ministry of Finance headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley advised by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian and others. The prime minister told the Cabinet he was going to announce the abolition of Indian rupee notes of denominations 500 and 1,000.

Modi spoke just for 5 min, finally leaving the Cabinet with two messages: that he was going to meet President Pranab Mukherjee to convey the decision and that they must switch on their television sets at 8 PM sharp.

By taking the Cabinet into confidence, the prime minister conformed to the convention, much as none of the ministers had got a whiff of what was about to come before those five minutes that left them stunned.

bcclThe prime minister then headed for the Rashtrapati Bhavan and informed the president of the decision as, technically, the president is the head of the government who must be kept in the loop and also explained how a policy decision is to be talked about by the head of the state in his speeches.

What the people got to see and hear on national television, beginning 8 PM, looked like a live telecast, but it was a recorded speech. The way Modi was weighing every word showed it had been rehearsed. But we are not speculating. This whole sequence of events was revealed to सिर्फ़ News by some of the top officers in the government.

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Surajit Dasgupta
The founder of सिर्फ़ News has been a science correspondent in The Statesman, senior editor in The Pioneer, special correspondent in Money Life and columnist in various newspapers and magazines, writing in English as well as Hindi. He was the national affairs editor of Swarajya, 2014-16. He worked with Hindusthan Samachar in 2017. He was the first chief editor of Sirf News and is now back at the helm after a stint as the desk head of MyNation of the Asianet group. He is a mathematician by training with interests in academic pursuits of science, linguistics and history. He advocates individual liberty and a free market in a manner that is politically feasible. His hobbies include Hindi film music and classical poetry in Bengali, English, French, Hindi and Urdu.


  1. It is nothing unusual to know what new notes will arrive in the economy. If a journalist asks RBI officials, he is given the relevant information. The arrival of currency notes of a new denomination, however, does not perforce mean discontinuation of notes of older denominations. People knew Rs 2,000 notes were arriving. They did not know that the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were going to turn invalid. Your conspiracy theory does not wash.

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