Though the Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to scrap Rs 1000 and Rs 500 bank notes has invited a sharp reaction from the opposition, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman described it as part of the process to turn India into a digital economy. Talking to ET Now in an interview she said that the government cannot afford to have a parallel cash economy while developing a digital economy. Sitharaman also talked about the various aspects of demonetisation to explain government’s move. She appeared in the interview a day after former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram shared his views on demonetisation at the same platform and criticised the government for its hurried move that could hurt India considerably. Here are the excerpts of her interview:
1. ‘There is no hesitation from PM Modi’s side in participating in Parliament debates. He was at both the Houses and participated in the debate. He also has any reservation with regards to a debate on demonetisation’.
2. ‘Government cannot afford to have parallel cash economy while developing a digital economy’.
3. ‘There is now an expectation of lower interest rates on the back of demonetisation. Centre conscious about bringing down the tax burden of people.Tax officials not going behind cash saved legitimately by people at houses’.
4. ‘Government is not denying the right of people to withdraw their money deposited at banks. It remains open to any suggestions or ideas that can help the common citizen’.
5.’I disagree that Govt was unprepared to implement demonetisation. The government has taken enough precautions’.
6. ‘There is a need for change in mindset to have less cash transactions. Transactions need to go through a process which is traceable’.
7. ‘Govt addressing issues both on currency circulation and stock front’.
8. ‘Benami Act will play the necessary role in making sure black money is curbed’.
9. ‘Real estate is not the only sector where black money is generated’.
10. ‘Cannot plan to the ‘last man’ while taking the decision of such magnitude’.
11. ‘Agree that movement of currency from RBI to bank branches taking some time’.
12. ‘Govt on the mission mode to make more people have Jan Dhan accounts’.