18 lakh people under scrutiny for unaccounted wealth: PM

RSTV Bureau
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the historic Red Fort on India's 71st Independence Day.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with students after his address on India’s 71st Independence Day.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his 4th Independence Day address from the Red Fort on Tuesday morning as India celebrated its 71st Independence Day.

In his hour-long speech, the PM promised to continue the crackdown on the black money.

“We will continue our fight against black money and corruption. And slowly by using technology and connecting Aadhaar (with several items including bank accounts and income tax return filing) we have made successful efforts,” he added.

Referring to his November 2016 move to demonetise currency notes of ₹ 500 and ₹ 1000, the PM said that deposits up to ₹ 1.75 lakh crore were under scrutiny post demonetisation.

“More than Rs 2 lakh crore black money has reached banks and now people depositing such money are being made to answer questions…More than 18 lakh people have been identified whose income is more than their declared wealth…And they have to answer questions on how they accumulated such wealth,” said the PM.

He also referred to the increase in tax payers this year.

“The result of this has been that this year, the new tax payers (filing returns) has more than doubled to 56 lakh. Last year this was 22 lakh. This is the result of fight against black money,” the PM said.

According to an independent research, demonetisation helped bring Rs 3 lakh crore of unaccounted wealth into the banking system, Modi said in his I-Day speech.

Lauding the move to demonetise, the PM said, it forced “the black money which was hidden to be brought to mainstream. Our effort was to get money into banks and make it a part of formal economy and we have done it successfully”.

PM-Modi-at-Red-FortNote ban, he said, got money into banks, which was now lowering interest rates.

“Banks are lending to the poor at lower interest rates. This is all working to boost the country’s economy,” he added.

The Prime Minister also spoke about the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“GST has shown the spirit of cooperative federalism. The nation has come together to support GST and the role of technology has also helped,” PM Modi said.

Removal of check posts after implementation of GST has cut time for transporting goods by 30 per cent, he added.

(With inputs from PTI)