Fri Dec 2, 2016 11:21AM
This file photo, taken on November 20, 2016, shows a man posing with replica prints of the demonetized 500 and 1,000 rupee notes as part of a street art exhibition in Mumbai, November 20, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
This file photo, taken on November 20, 2016, shows a man posing with replica prints of the demonetized 500 and 1,000 rupee notes as part of a street art exhibition in Mumbai, November 20, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
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The Indian economy is in a state of free fall: The demonetization of two of India's largest bank notes, the 500 and the 1,000 rupee bills, which made up more than 80% of the currency in circulation, has left millions high and dry.

It is threatening to bring much of the cash-driven economy to a halt. Why did the Indian government under Prime Minister Modi opt for such a move?

The official explanation given is that it is designed to bring billions of dollars' worth of cash in unaccounted wealth into the mainstream economy. What does that mean exactly, and isn't there a better way of doing it?