Home English Talk now of cash inflow, not flight overseas, says Modi.
Fifty-two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi deployed a shock and awe tactic on the nation by scrapping high value Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes , he lashed out at critics of the strategy, saying,“Three years ago, the dominant theme in the news was how much money was lost in scams. Now it’s about what is coming back.”
Addressing a meeting on ‘Digidhan Mela’ on Friday, Mr Modi refuted the comments of former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram that demonetisation has produced “only a mouse” in terms of black money after digging a mountain, saying finding a “mouse” is needed as it consumes the wealth of the poor.
The Prime Minister also launched an indigenous digital payments app ‘BHIM’ named after Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar. The Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is a simplified payment platform designed to make Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and USSD payment modes simpler and usable across feature phones and smart phones.
People want honesty and hope for a better future, Mr. Modi said, emphasising the change in discourse since the November 8 decision to demonetise the cancel the legal tender nature of old Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes, from scandals in the allocation of telecom spectrum and coal blocks under the United Progressive Alliance government to the prospect of black money coming into the formal economy, despite the hardships faced by 1.3 billion citizens following the announcement.
Also on Friday, President Pranab Mukherjee signed off on an ordinance to help extinguish the Reserve Bank of India and the government’s liabilities towards the scrapped bank notes.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the record number of search and seizure operations carried out by the Income Tax department were ample proof that the decision to demonetise the high-value currency notes was on the mark.
“This only shows the mass-scale and manner in which some people have indulged in currency racketeering,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to put together data on how much of the demonetised currency returned to the system by December 30.
Mr Jaitley also said the cash crunch faced by people at large due to the lack of adequate currency in banks had eased as gauged by thinner queues at banks, though he refused to commit to a time line for lifting the withdrawal caps of Rs 24,000 a week imposed on bank account holders.
The Prime Minister’s address to the nation on New Year’s Eve could hold some goodies for the common man, days before the Election Commission announces poll dates for upcoming elections in the country’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh and its wheat bowl, Punjab. “Just wait till tomorrow,” Mr Jaitley told reporters, when asked if honest citizens could expect a New Year gift after this hardship.