Countering the Opposition parties move to observe 'Black day' on first demonetisation anniversary, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday defended the note ban and slammed the Congress for its criticism of the 'bold reform'. Jaitley announced that the BJP will observe 8 November, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation decision, as anti-black money day.
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Party leaders and Union ministers will organise various programmes and inform people about the steps taken by the government against black money, the finance minister said.
He further explained that the aim of the government's decision to flush out old higher currency notes was to increase the tax base, squeeze terrorist funding and detect counterfeit money. "People who deposited money disproportionate to their income were forced to pay taxes" after the note ban, he said. It was a huge decision to make India a cashless economy, he added.
Hailing the move, the finance minister said that following the note ban, the government has increased digitisation and the tax base. Digital transactions have doubled, he said while adding that even on Dhanteras, people bought something like gold online.
He also slammed the Congress, saying that he cannot remember any significant step take by the party when they were in power. Congress is a losing and disgruntled party, which never understood demonetisation, the finance minister said.
The Congress' Uttar Pradesh unit had said that it will observe 8 November as 'Black Day' and hold processions to highlight its "ill-effects".
"We will observe November 8 as a 'black day for the economy' throughout the state, and take out a candlelight march at 8 pm. During the day, meetings, processions and nukkad sabhas will also be held.
"On this day, we will pay tributes to martyrs (balidaaniyo) of demonetisation," Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar had told reporters in Lucknow.
There were no benefits of demonetisation, but only losses. There was unemployment, development came to a standstill and farmers are feeling harassed, Babbar had claimed.
Hitting out at Modi, he also said, "We demand that the prime minister tender an apology to the people for causing damage to the economy."
"We also demand compensation for those who died due to demonetistaion. Modi should be sensitive. A situation should not arise that elections are held on choosing the tolerant and intolerant, instead of being held on issues," Babbar had said.
Even West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that her party will observe 8 November as 'Black Day' and called the note ban as the country's "biggest scam".
"Demonetisation is the biggest scam in the country. There should be an investigation to know why it was done. Our party leaders will observe Kala Dibas (Black Day) in each and every block between 2 pm and 3 pm on 8 November," Banerjee announced.
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Updated Date: Oct 25, 2017 17:53:01 IST