Note-ban highly ethical move, not merely political: Arun Jaitley
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday defended demonetisation, saying it was a "highly ethical" move and not merely a political one.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday defended demonetisation, saying it was a "highly ethical" move and not merely a political one. His statement comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi engaged in a bitter war of words during their respective election rallies over the decision suddenly announced in November 2016 to junk a bulk of the currency in circulation."
It was a highly ethical move," Jaitley told reporters here in response to a query over demonetisation. "It was not merely a political move." Jaitley was speaking after releasing the BJP's manifesto here ahead of the November 28 Madhya Pradesh Assembly election. Further backing the note-ban move, he said, "It was no secret that many in India were not tax-compliant, compelling them to put their undeclared money into the banks had an ethical rationale to it."
The Modi government has taken a series of measures to boost revenue base of both the Centre and states, the Finance Minister said. "Every move this government has taken so far, from demonetisation to the GST, to putting the entire tax system direct or indirect on online, Jan Dhan accounts.. This has helped us to formalise a large part of Indian economy... There is still work in progress and the net impact of this is that both the Centre and states now have much large revenues,"he said.
Jaitley said when the Modi government took office in May 2014, 3.8 crore people filed income tax returns and this number has now increased manifold. "This figure soared to 6.86 in (the last) four years. At the end of five years it might double to the figure when Modi came to power. Demonetisation and the GST were not merely political moves," he added.
Jaitley said increase in government resources has helped in allocation of more capital for welfare schemes launched for the poor. Gandhi had on Friday criticised the government over demonetisation, saying it was the "biggest scam" in India since independence.
Addressing a rally in Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh ahead of the second phase of voting on November 20, Modi Friday had claimed people did not have issues with demonetisation, but "only a family". The prime minister claimed the Congress was "worried" that he took away all the money its "minions and friends" had stashed under their beds and in sacks in one stroke.
Modi had said his government was investing the money recovered post-demonetisation on carrying out public works and funding welfare schemes.