Note ban move will be viewed with pride by next generation: Arun Jaitley

On November 8 last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of ₹1,000 and old ₹500 notes to "combat corruption, black money, terrorism and fake currency."

Updated - November 08, 2017 01:03 am IST

Published - November 07, 2017 01:51 pm IST

 Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, on the eve of the first anniversary of the Union government’s decision to demonetise high-value currency, termed the move as “historic,” being “ethically and morally correct,” adding that such a move “could not but be politically correct.”

He said that as soon as the BJP entered office, it realised the need for shaking up the “status quo” of excessive cash transactions leading to tax evasion, with the honest taxpayers suffering a “double whammy” as they ended up paying taxes for the evaders too.

Addressing the press after a similar interaction by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Gujarat, Mr. Jaitley countered Dr. Singh’s assertion that the note ban was “organised loot and legalised plunder.” The Congress, he said, was unable to grasp its moral rationale as its “primary objective has been to serve the family, whereas the primary aim of the BJP is to serve the nation.”

Referring to demonetisation as one in a series of steps taken by the Narendra Modi government to tackle black money in the economy, Mr. Jaitley said the “anti-black money drive is ethical and moral. What is ethical and moral cannot be politically incorrect.”

Again countering Dr. Singh, who had said in Gujarat, that demonetisation was “mere bluster” and that the “real offenders have escaped”, Mr. Jaitley said, “loot is what happened in 2G, CWG and allocation of coal blocks. Therefore, I feel, over ethics, our perspectives are very different. They serve the family and we serve the nation. So, even in these basics and preliminaries, we do not agree.”

He attacked the Congress and Dr. Singh’s record as Prime Minister by saying that perception of the Indian economy internationally at this time reflected the difference between the UPA and the NDA governments.

“You were being considered an economy impacted by policy paralysis. You were off the global radar. Today, there isn’t an international agency which does not eulogise the kind and quality of structural reforms India has taken,” Mr. Jaitley said.

‘Ended policy paralysis’

“All that Dr. Singh has to do is to compare the relative credibility of the Indian economy pre and post 2014. Before the BJP assumed power, it was widely perceived as having been struck by policy paralysis. We had disappeared from the global radar. ‘I’ was sought to be knocked out of BRICS. I suggest Dr. Singh reflects somewhat on those aspects,” he said.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken bold structural reforms aimed at transforming the Indian economy from informal to formal, widening our tax base, increasing cashless transactions and squeezing cash out of the system because it leads to corruption and black money,” he added.

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