“The Opposition parties should come forward for a detailed discussion on demonetisation issue in the Lok Sabha as well as in the Rajya Sabha. But they are running away from a debate. They do not have a single logical point to speak against demonetisation policy. Moreover, those who have friendship and relationship with black money hoarders are in a big trouble and thus are creating disturbance. Now, I would not allege any specific one. Everybody agrees that black money must be restrained and every party supports it. We understand there is some problem, therefore, the Prime Minister urged the common man to bear this trouble for 5O days and gradually this problem will disappear,” said Minister of State for Finance, Santosh Gangwar in an exclusive interview to Editor, Deepak Kumar Rath. Excerpts:
1. Was demonetisation policy a pre-planned or a sudden move by the government?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had talked about the black money during the 2014 general elections campaign. And people’s mandate to BJP was not only to mere rule over India but to transform the country. And good work is visible at the grassroots level. The voluntary disclosure of income scheme was announced to recover unaccounted wealth or black money. Later, demonetisation was announced to eradicate the black money. Prime Minister works and thinks only for the welfare of the common man. I know some people are facing the trouble due to scrapping of old currencies, however, most of the people of India are happy with the PM Modi’s decision. Out of 1.25 billion people, 1.1 to 1.15 billion people have no problem with demonetisation, but some are facing little difficulties due to non-availability of cash. Very soon everything will run smoothly. It is an important and bold measure to make India prosperous.
2. Everybody is saying that demonetisation is a good step for the country, but if the government had planned its implementation properly, then this chaos could have been avoided. Your comment.
It was not possible to take people in cognizance about the decision, so it was kept a secret. Eighty-six per cent of notes were in the form of big currencies. It is natural that problem occured due to change of notes, but this mess will be eradicated in coming days. One can see lines in ATMs and banks are gradually diminishing.
3. There are reports of detection of fake currencies recently in Odisha, Ahmedabad and other parts of the country. How has it happened?
I think those notes are genuine ones. Even some terrorists have been captured with new Rs. 2000 notes. Anyway, it needs investigation to verify.
4. So far, what steps have the government taken to lessen the troubles of farmers, traders etc?
In reality, there is no problem to the common man. There is little trouble in changing the old currencies because of the rush at banks. New notes are reached to every nook and cranny of the country. With available data, so far, six lakh crore rupees have been transacted by changing and depositing money to banks out of 14 lakh crore rupees. In the upcoming week, we would be able to solve most of the problems.
5. You said that the common man has no problem with demonetisation. But you know that most of the common people have no bank accounts. How do you assume that they would open accounts and transact money easily in a very short period of time?
When Prime Minister talked about opening bank accounts through Jan Dhan Yojana, around 25 crore people opened bank accounts, as per the government’s data. Prime Minister also said that with zero balance, one can open a bank account. Overall, through Jan Dhan Yojana, one out of every four bank accounts was opened without any balance. And now, we are getting information that people are depositing money to Jan Dhan bank accounts. We are also tracking who are doing it; how they are depositing money.
6. Earlier, you were Textile Minister. You know that majority of textile industry labours, tea garden workers etc don’t have bank accounts. How would workers of unorganised sectors get payment without bank accounts?
It is a good initiative that everybody opens an account. So that they can get full remuneration without any complain of forgery.
7. You said that a large amount of money is being deposited in Jan Dhan accounts and the maximum deposit has been reported in West Bengal. People are saying that is why Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee is creating a hullabaloo in Delhi. Your comment.
I would not like to speak on this matter now, wait until the report comes. The reason behind huge amounts of money being deposited to Jan Dhan accounts is clearly understandable. Right now, we don’t want to comment on this corrupt practice. But those who are involved in such wrongful acts are definitely part of the criminal activities. And in future, we will take necessary action against the corrupt practitioners.
8. Scrapping of old currencies was meant to curb black money and terrorism in one shot. But there is much uproar by the Opposition parties on this issue. What is the reason behind it?
The Opposition parties should come forward for a detailed discussion on demonetisation issue in the Lok Sabha as well as in the Rajya Sabha. But they are running away from a debate. They do not have a single logical point to speak against demonetisation policy. Moreover, those who have friendship and relationship with black money hoarders are in a big trouble and thus are creating disturbance. Now, I would not allege any specific one. Everybody agrees that black money must be restrained and every party supports it. We understand there is some problem, therefore, the Prime Minister urged the common man to bear this trouble for 5O days and gradually this problem will disappear.
9. The Opposition demands Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into demonetisation issue. How do you see to it?
They should first be ready for a debate, later, if needed, we would not hesitate for JPC. It has already been one week since the beginning of Parliament session but there is no discussion so far.
- Demonetisation is the step to curb black money inside the country. Is there any plan to bring back black money stashed in foreign counties?
Prime Minister Modi’s thinking is very clear and he always talks about the welfare of the common man and growth of our nation. And he kept saying about this issue during election campaigns also on various occasions. The common man should not feel anxious about anything else. The government creates trouble for the trouble-makers of growth.
- Will the government rollback the demonetisation decision?
No, it is impossible. Prime Minister has always been strict with every decision.