Govt, Oppn spar over note ban
NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday said demonetisation resulted in the formalisation of the economy and increased tax base, prompting the government to earmark more resources for the poor and infrastructure development.
In a Facebook post on the second anniversary of Demonetisation, Jaitley said in first four years of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the number of income tax returns filers has gone up to 6.86 crore from 3.8 crore in May 2014.
By the time the first five years of this government are over, we will be close to doubling the assessee base, he said in the post titled "Impact Of Demonetisation".
He further said with the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), it is now becoming increasingly difficult to evade the tax system, and the indirect tax to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio has gone up to 5.4 per cent post-GST, from 4.4 per cent in 2014-15.
Terming the criticism, that almost the entire cash money got deposited in the banks post demonetisation, as ill-informed, Jaitley said confiscation of currency was not an objective of demonetisation.
In a scathing assessment of the demonetisation exercise, former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the "scars and wounds" it caused are getting more visible with time and the decision's second anniversary is a day to remember how "economic misadventures" can roil the nation.
The senior Congress leader asked the government to not resort to further unorthodox, short-term economic measures that can cause any more uncertainty in the economy.
Describing demonetisation as an "ill-fated" and "ill-thought" exercise, Singh said in a statement that the havoc it unleashed on the Indian economy and society is now evident to everyone.
"Notebandi impacted every single person, regardless of age, gender, religion, occupation or creed," Singh said.
Beyond the "steep drop" in headline GDP growth numbers after demonetisation, the broader ramifications of 'notebandi' are still unravelling, he said.
Small and medium businesses that are the cornerstone of India's economy are yet to recover from the demonetisation shock, Singh asserted.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that demonetisation was a planned "brutal conspiracy" and a "shrewd scheme" to convert the black money of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "suit-booted friends".
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called it a 'dark day'.
"From the moment it was announced; I said so. Renowned economists, ordinary people and all experts now all agree.
"The government cheated our nation with this big demonetisation scam. It ruined the economy and the lives of millions. People will punish those who did this," she said.
Aam Aadmi Party head and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also called it a "deep wound on the Indian economy".
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury blamed Modi for destroying "the economy, lives and livelihoods".