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The Global War on Cash: Another Front in the Fight Against Corruption and Crime

Haylea Campbell

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month sprung a surprise on his nation by ordering the withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it is cracking down on high-denomination notes, by gradually phasing out the €500 bill. And then there is the Swedish central bank, the Riksbank, which announced last month that it is examining the possibility of eliminating all national banknotes, and replacing them with a Swedish digital currency.

Welcome to the surprising twists of the  global ‘war on cash’.

Modi’s decision to eliminate the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and replace them with new designs has been justified as a blow against corruption in the country. As he said in his address to the Indian people on 8 November, India was ranked 76th globally in the latest available Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, not a position to be proud of.

Furthermore, in January 2016, Transparency International stated that India was ‘falling short’ of its promises to clamp down on corruption in the country.


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