India Eliminates High-Value Banknotes to Fight Crime

January 5, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. black money / blæk ˈmʌni / (n.) – money that is earned illegally
Example: Authorities recovered black money from the criminals.

2. counterfeit / ˈkaʊn tərˌfɪt / (adj.) – illegal or fake copies of something
Example: She was not allowed to board the plane because her ticket was counterfeit.

3. abrupt / əˈbrʌpt / (adj.) – not expected or very sudden
Example: I was shocked by his abrupt decision.

4. throng / θrɔŋ / (v.) – to gather somewhere
Example: Crowds thronged the streets during the protest.

5. dispense / dɪˈspɛns / (v.) – to give something
Example: The ATM does not dispense $100 bills.


Read the text below.
India has eliminated its 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes to fight corruption and black money.

On November 8, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes would no longer be valid after midnight of the same day. The surprise move was part of the government’s fight against corrupt officials and terrorists who use the high value banknotes in illegal transactions. Modi said that terrorists allegedly used counterfeit 500 rupee notes to fund their operations. The minister added that these criminals are the biggest obstacles to fighting poverty in India.

The abrupt decision sparked outrage. The government gave the public only until December 30 to have their old 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes exchanged in banks. Banks across the country were thronged with people who need to exchange their old banknotes or to withdraw cash. People waited in line for hours as banks struggled to dispense cash.

Businesses throughout the country were also affected by the change in banknotes. Some traders in a Delhi vegetable market said that they were considering closing their stores until the situation becomes stable.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) advised the public to calm down. RBI assured the citizens that there is enough cash available, and that the people can withdraw anytime.

The government also assured the people that it is adding more ATMs and improving them to accommodate more transactions. It also extended the due date of utility bills to give people more time to pay. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What could the government have done to lessen the inconvenience experienced by the people?
·         Do you think that the move will achieve its goal to fight corruption and black money? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What should the government do to make sure that existing banknotes will not be reproduced illegally?
·         What are the reasons why people counterfeit money?

January 5, 2017