New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday slammed the Congress for calling demonetisation the “biggest scam” and stressed that the move would benefit the economy and the nation in the long run.
The Finance Minister also assured that “significant amounts” of money will be injected into the banking system over the next three weeks which would ease the cash crunch.
Targeting the Congress, Jaitley said that corruption and scams peaked during the Congress-led UPA tenure of 10 years and the government did not take any steps to curb corruption or black money.
“From 2G scandal to coal block, CWG, AgustaWestland helicopter deal, each of the scandals, which is even today discussed in public space, belongs to that period. Given this scandalous record, it is not surprising that the Congress party is extremely uncomfortable with the anti-corruption campaign our government has launched,” he said.
He pointed out that between 2004 and 2014, high denomination currencies increased from a mere 36 per cent to over 80 per cent.
“There are economic costs of dealing in cash, there are social costs of dealing in cash. These are the costs which the system has to bear,” he said, adding that demonetisation was a step in the direction of “less cash economy”.
“It’s our strategy that from high cash-dominated economy, we should become a less cash economy where the amount of paper currency comes down. Cash will still exist and there would be a greater digitisation,” he said.
The Finance Minister said the government is “rapidly completing remonetisation exercise”.
“Everyday RBI is injecting a large amount of currency into the banking system as part of its remonetisation exercise. Significant amounts are going to be injected in next three weeks which are gradually bringing the pressure down,” he said.
Citing the advantages of the move, Jaitley said that the money operating as loose cash in the system has today come into the banking system, and as future transactions would be substantially digital and would come in the tax net, it would ultimately help the government to make taxes “more reasonable”.
“When this is seen along with many other reforms Government is bringing about particularly the proposed GST, the restrictions on cash spending subjected to PAN declaration, it itself is going to bring down the levels of corruption in society, it is going to bring down cash transaction in society and it’s going to bring down levels of evasion as far as taxation is concerned.
“I urge my friends in the Congress party, and the entire opposition, we are ready to debate this issue in Parliament. Rise above slogans and look at the positive advantages that these changes in system in the long run are going to bring to the economy as a whole,” he said.