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...First, in his The Indian Express column, Surjit Bhalla argued that demonetization was not bad for the rural economy since the growth of wage rates had increased from around 2% in mid-2016 to 5.7% in mid-2017. There followed a response by Himanshu in The Indian Express, using the same data to show that Bhalla’s conclusions were valid only for select occupations. More importantly, he pointed out that a recovery in rural wages had started before demonetization and that this recovery came on the heels of a longer period of declining real wages since May 2014. However, he used wage levels rather than growth rates in his analysis and interpreted Bhalla as saying that demonetization had increased wage rates. Both these points were criticized by Bhalla in his response. Himanshu is right in saying that the uptick in wage rate growth started before demonetization, around August-September 2016. ...Live Mint on Oct. 24, 2017, 12:10 a.m.