Finance Ministry denies news reports suggesting withdrawal of cheque book facility

This might well be the latest case of how a story is twisted beyond recognition and then presented in the media, fueling a rumour, which could very well cause panic in the markets.

Last week we saw a flurry of media reports claiming that, in a push towards digital transactions, the Government could stop the cheque book facility. It all started with a set of news reports which were based on a PTI report, which had the following headlines:

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At this stage, the reports were simple & clear: An officer bearer of a trade body claimed that cheque facility may be withdrawn. The news reports very clearly quoted him in the headline, clarifying that this was his view, and not of anyone from the Government. By 21st November, Economic Times ran a story which showed the below preview:

Although the headline suggested PM Modi may withdraw the cheque book facility, the text below clarified that it was the view of the trade body official.

By 21st November though, the headlines were devoid of any reference to the CAIT official, and the reports were titled as below:

Reference to the CAIT official was now left to some obscure paragraph in the article, and the headline strongly indicated that this was a move by the Government. We even saw some analysis of the feasibility of the move:

Now, the Finance Ministry has clarified via twitter that all such news reports were baseless and that there was no such proposal under consideration:

For the past few days, the media took the readers for a jolly good ride. A story which was basically the opinion of a non-Government person, was packaged and presented as if it was a story based on some information from some Government source or document.

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