Unnecessary panic spread on demonetisation; no roll back: Arun Jaitley
New Delhi: Digging in his heels, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday ruled out the roll-back of the demonetisation decision and slammed Delhi and West Bengal chief ministers accusing them of spreading “unnecessary panic”.
He said the move to demonetise the high value notes was “very well planned”, and added that the rush in bank branches is “significantly” coming down and 22,000 ATMs are getting recalibrated daily in order to dispense Rs 100, and new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes.
Criticising senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s comments in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said opposition has developed “cold feet” to debate the issue of demonetisation and criticised Azad for making irresponsible political comment.
Jaitley said he expected every responsible citizen, political party, state governments to support this huge effort because this will mean that India’s formal economy will increase, access to banking will increase, taxation quantum will increase, banks will have far more money to support the economy in terms of trade, interest rates will come down, and therefore the kind of economy it will generate is huge.
“Now unnecessary panic is being spread particularly by some individuals and I didn’t expect Chief Ministers of one or two states to join in this effort,” Jaitley told ANI.
Rejecting the demand of political parties like Aam Admi Party and Trinamool Congress, he said, “whatever AAP and Trinamool Congress said about the roll back, there is no question of that.
It is a clear decision of the Prime Minister and government to cleanse politics and economy of the country. We will stick to it (demonetisation)”. Jaitley questioned the “vested interest” of Congress party in opposing government’s effort to root out black money.
“At the end of the day, this exercise will only succeed in rooting out black money, crime money and make the Indian economy cleaner. Congress as a national party must support this,” he said.
Jaitley also criticised certain comments of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and senior Congress Ghulam Nabi Azad during the debate on demonetisation.
He added: “What is the vested interest of Congress party in opposing this campaign to root out black money, crime money and make the Indian economy cleaner. Congress as a national party must support this.”
On why the government was targeting only cash to unearth black money, Jaitley said it was necessary to squeeze cash to prevent generation of more black money.
“You have to squeeze cash because black money generates more black money. Not whatever is in assets is a matter of assessment by the income tax authorities. But whatever is lying in hard cash so that it does not generate anything for the future, has to be squeezed out,” he added.
Jaitley also dismissed the criticism that banks have written off loans belonging to large industrial houses.
“That is completely a false statement. These were loans given during the Congress government. Obviously there is no write off, only the column changes. Some of performing assets become non-performing. But you still keep chasing the loan for recovery.
“Write off in the banking parlance, does not mean loan waiver. It just means, that a performing asset has become a non-performing asset. And therefore the opposition must understand the banking terminology before making an irresponsible statement,” he added.
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