Hitting out at the Congress over its protest against demonetisation, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar today accused the party of “institutionalising” corruption. Terming it as a war between two political cultures, the minister, who is also his party’s election in-charge for the 2018 Karnataka Assembly polls, said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, honesty would be rewarded and the dishonest would be punished. “Today, the BJP is observing anti-black money day across the country. Surprisingly the Congress is also observing, but there is a difference… The Congress is observing this day as ‘black money support day’,” Javadekar said. “They are supporting black money, we are opposing black money. They institutionalise corruption, we are bringing honesty and transparency in the system. This is a war of two political cultures, and the last three-and-half years are testimony to this,” he told reporters here. Exactly a year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced withdrawal of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes from circulation as a measure to fight black money, corruption, fake currency and terror funding.
The opposition is observing “black day” today. Calling demonetisation a “historic” decision, Javadekar cited various steps taken by the government in its “relentless” fight against black money and corruption. “The Modi government has taken a series of decisions…we are getting results,” he said, adding that the message of the Modi government is “live honest, live happily”. Describing the BJP-led government’s demonetisation exercise as a “reckless” step, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday termed the scrapping of higher value currency notes as “organised loot and legalised plunder”.
Hitting back at Singh, Javadekar referred to the coal, 2G, Commonwealth scams under his premiership, and said “Congress stands for corruption”. He said with demonetisation every rupee, practically 99 per cent of the notes which were anonymous, has now got “identity”. According to him, scrutiny is on with regard to one lakh transactions post demonetisation that are highly suspicious. “So demonetisation action has started and now all those suspected accounts and those cash deposits, appropriate action will be taken against them.”
He said 37,000 shell companies have been identified through which black money used to be converted into white. Action will be taken against them after scrutiny, he said, adding, already two lakh shell companies have been de- registered and their accounts frozen. Dependence on cash has reduced and digital economy has got a boost. Digital transactions are up by 60 per cent and there is a substantial increase in debit and credit cards, also RTGS and NEFT money transfers, he said. “Tax payer compliance is up by 25 per cent and tax collection has also improved by 15 per cent, all these things show positive impact of demonetisation,” he said.
The government’s war against black money will continue and more steps would be taken, the minister said. Calling the Goods and Services Tax (GST) a “major” tax reform which was “unanimously” passed by all parties and all states, Javadekar hit out at the Congress for opposing it now “for the sake of politics”. “It is unfortunate that six finance ministers of the Congress, two of Left parties support GST at the GST Council and speak against it outside for political gains. But they won’t get any gain,” he said.