Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed his government’s demonetisation move four years ago, claiming that it gave a boost to transparency. In a tweet on Sunday, Modi said that the move helped reduce black money, increase tax compliance and formalisation and gave a boost to transparency and that the outcomes have been beneficial for the country’s progress.
In graphics accompanying the tweet, the Prime Minister pointed out that India had turned into a lesser cash-based economy with better tax compliance. He said self-assessment tax of more than Rs 13,000 crore was paid by targeted non-filers and 3.04 lakh persons who deposited cash of Rs 10 lakh or more but had not filed their income tax returns were identified. He also claimed that the demonetisation helped improve India’s tax/GDP ratio.
On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Modi announced the decision to ban all currency notes of higher denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 from midnight. Long queues were witnessed outside ATMs for several days after that, as people tried to get new banknotes in hand. Most of the old notes in circulation were deposited with banks. The move came in for criticism from several quarters, and the opposition claimed it had harmed the economy.
The Congress observed the fourth anniversary of demonetisation as “Vikshwasghaat Diwas” (betrayal day) as it ran a social media campaign ‘SpeakUpAgainstDeMoDisaster’ and slammed the government alleging that it has continuously changed the explanatory reasons for carrying out the measure four years ago. Demonetisation has “destroyed” the economy, it added.
Congress general secretary Ajay Maken at a media briefing quoted former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks on November 24, 2016, to hit out at the government. “The way this scheme has been implemented — is a monumental management failure, and in fact, it is a case of organised loot, legalised plunder of the common people,” Maken said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that Prime Minister Modi’s move four years ago was aimed at helping a few of his “crony capitalist friends” and had “destroyed” the Indian economy. In a video released as part of the party’s online ‘SpeakUpAgainstDeMoDisaster’ campaign, Gandhi said the question is how the economy of Bangladesh “surpassed” the Indian economy as there was a time when India used to be one of the most high performing economies of the world.
“The government says that the reason is Covid but if that is the reason, there is Covid in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the world also. The reason is not Covid, the reason is ‘Notebandi’ and GST,” Gandhi said in Hindi.
P Chidambaram, Mallikarjun Kharge, Shashi Tharoor and Salman Khurshid were among senior Congress leaders who also slammed the government over demonetisation as part of their party’s online campaign.
“The first lesson every ruler and every government must learn is that – even if you do not do good to the people, do not do harm. The BJP-led NDA government did great harm to India’s economy on November 8th, 2016,” Chidambaram, a former Union finance minister, said.