FM defends note ban on 2nd anniv, says Opp proved wrong
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday attributed jump in income tax return filers from `3.8 crore in May 2014 to `6.86 crore to demonetisation and asserted that the Opposition parties have been “conclusively proved wrong” that it would shave off two per cent of growth rate as he said India retained its position as the fastest growing economy for the fifth year in a row.
Defending the demonetisation drive by the Narendra Modi Government on the second anniversary of ‘demonetisation’ that led to a running debate in the country over its aim and impact on the economy with the Opposition alleging that it dried off money supply to the public and badly affected the employment sector, Jaitley said the economy has grown stronger as demonetisation has increased the Government resources to fund poverty alleviation and infrastructure development programmes.
Writing in a Facebook post titled “Impact Of Demonetisation”, the Finance Minster listed an 80 per cent jump in income tax return filers to `6.86 crore, increase in digital transactions and more resources being available for poor and for building better infrastructure as the main achievements. Modi’s sudden move on November, 8, 2016, to announce the demonetisation in an unscheduled live national televised address at 8.15 pm to withdraw high-value currency had raised many eye brows in the Opposition.
Citing the positive outcome of the demonetisation, Jaitley said with depositing junked currency in banks only mode left to liquidate holding of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, the Government was able to track down people holding cash beyond their known sources of income.
“The enormity of cash deposited and identified with the owner resulted in suspected 17.42 lakh account holders from whom the response has been received online through non-invasive method,” he wrote.
Since the money came into bank accounts, the holders were forced to file income returns, which went up from 3.8 crore in May 2014 to 6.86 crore.
“By the time the first five years of this Government are over, we will be close to doubling the assessee base,” he said.
Responding to criticism from Opposition parties that it was an economic misadventure, Jaitley said India clocking the fastest growth rate has proved “prophets of doom”, who had predicted that demonetisation will shave off 2 per cent of growth rate, conclusively wrong.
“What has happened to prophets of doom who said India’s GDP will decline by at least 2 per cent. For the fifth year running India will be the fastest growing (large) economy in the world. It is continuing to happen. So prophets of doom have been proved wrong and conclusively proved wrong,” he later told reporters here.
“Even when there was global stress, we still manage to have respectable growth rates and we had the courage because of leadership of the Prime Minister that we took decisive steps and these steps which are not economically correct, which have helped the system in the long run; and the long run, in this case, does not mean generations,” the Finance Minister added.