1. Demonetisation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to think differently

Demonetisation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to think differently

Minister of State (independent charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal, was the guest at the Express Adda held in Pune last week, where he spoke about demonetisation, moving towards a cashless economy and political implications of the move

Updated: December 4, 2016 7:29 AM
piyush-goyal_reuters-l In conversation with The Indian Express National Opinion Editor Vandita Mishra and Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Express Group, Goyal spoke about going digital, transparency in political finance and making development inclusive. (Source: Reuters)

Union minister Piyush Goyal was the guest at Express Adda held at Royal Western India Turf Club, Pune, last week . In conversation with The Indian Express National Opinion Editor Vandita Mishra and Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Express Group, Goyal spoke about going digital, transparency in political finance and making development inclusive

On demonetisation

Somebody may choose to call it organised loot, but if R18,6000 crore lost in the Coalgate scam or R17,6000 crore lost in the 2G scam and other scams like the Common Wealth Games, and AugustaWestland were not organised loot, then I don’t know what was. Prime Minister Modi has come to this decision with a great deal of thought and with a commitment to cleanse Indian society of black money, corruption, and dangers of counterfeit notes, which fuel terrorism and drug cartels. It is probably the largest action taken in the history of mankind. One of the biggest impact that we hope this move will have is on the mindset of people. The chalta hai approach has to change some day. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a nation as large as India to think differently, to try and leave behind a legacy for the youth of India, which is different from the one we inherited. We would like the colour of currency to be one. We would like the transactions to be in one currency, one legal format.

On the expected drop in the growth of GDP

In the short run, there will be a drop. Some of the things that amazed us was that two-wheeler and car sales have dropped. I can’t imagine that cars and two-wheelers were also being sold in cash or were being sold with illegitimate money. That fall in the sale is what we call short-term pain. But, if we move towards an economy where everybody starts buying two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers with honest money, that’s the change we are trying to bring. I think in the long-term, we can clearly see lower inflation, lower interest rates beat improved investment climate. A lot of international foreign firms would love to come to a country where business is done honestly.

On the transition to a cashless economy

When you are talking about a cashless society, you are aiming at one which is near cashless. Currently in India, we have about 71 crore debit cards and 26 million credit cards. Over 450 million of them are used only for withdrawing cash from an ATM. Hardly 45-50 million are used for transacting through that debit card. It’s an unfortunate situation. Each cash transaction costs R55 to R70. So if we see nation as a whole, there is a potential of R20,000-plus crore saving if we are able to convert a large part of our transactions to digital. Lastly, honest payment of taxes — a society where traders, businessmen, industrialists, everybody has equal opportunity. So your ability to succeed in a competitive world is not judged by how much tax you evade but is determined by your service quality, your product quality. I think that’s the kind of society digital payments can bring about.

Transcribed by Garima Mishra and Partha Sarthi Biswas

Photos by Atul Horizon, Pavan Khengre, Sandeep Daundkar, Amit Ruke

  1. A
    ashok
    Dec 13, 2016 at 6:57 am
    Another follower of the impractical pied piper. What a travesty of our country. It is so important to have educated, professional PM than going for false and misplaced exuberance
    Reply
    1. A
      ashok
      Dec 13, 2016 at 6:59 am
      Time for BJP to go. Destro everything and more importantly peoples minds
      Reply
      1. Samir Shah
        Dec 4, 2016 at 7:20 am
        Instead of forming queues at ATMs, its high-time that people start thinking out of the box. Keep minimum cash for very basic requirements and use it effectively. I just converted my milk man's cash payment to cheque. I believe with little analysis things can work out digitally.
        Reply
        1. S
          Satyesh Banavali
          Dec 7, 2016 at 2:51 pm
          Systems should be perfect, mechanisms for protecting frauds of debit card and credit card usage should be in place, transaction charges should be removed, businesses should be forced to have plastic currency machines, laws for negotiable instruments should be stricter and justice faster.....and so on......This cannot be seen as a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It should be seen as a first step towards clean business environment, clean governance etc. This is Incredible India....
          Reply
          1. S
            Satyesh Banavali
            Dec 7, 2016 at 2:53 pm
            Use apps like raincan if available in ur city....go chequeless and cashless...no need to pay bank charges for cheque books
            Reply
            1. B
              bakkut
              Dec 13, 2016 at 12:09 pm
              The minister is dreaming like the Asoep's Fable: The milk maid and pail of milk. Hope his prophesy comes true for the sake of poor and hard toilling citizens of Indians. All the BJP lawmaker should make honest atma chintan on the efficacy of the demonitisation gambit. Whether it was worth it, in hind sight. They should bear in mind that nobody is infallible and take corrective action as soon as possible rather than hoodwink the people. People may be poor and illiterate but they are mature enough judicious choice when it comes to election and voting. The Janata party's victory in 1977 bears testimony to this.
              Reply
              1. m
                m.t.r
                Dec 13, 2016 at 4:00 pm
                m.t.r Post your opinion...majak bana ke rakh diye sir aap log kbahi bolten h 4 baje to kabhi bolten h 10.5me to kabhi bolten h 5 baje to kabhi 7.45 par aab tak pata nhi kab aayega sir aayega ya nhi plz bata dijye sir
                Reply
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