Anti-corruption campaign has spooked Cong, rebuts Jaitley

RSTV Bureau

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On a day Congress party attacked Modi government on the issue of demonetisation and allegations against MoS Home Kiren Rijiju, the ruling BJP tried turning the tables by accusing the Congress party of having a poor record in fighting corruption during its tenure in power.

Leading charge from the government, Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley hit back at the Congress’s criticism, saying that its “scandalous record” is making it extremely uncomfortable with the Modi government’s anti-corruption campaign.

“Each of the scandals which is even today discussed in public space belongs to that period. Given this scandalous record, it is not surprising that Congress party is extremely uncomfortable with anti-corruption campaign that the NDA led by Narendra Modi has launched,” Jaitley told reporters here.

Calling demonetisation a cornerstone of Modi government’s campaign, he said banning old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes will only help India’s economy.

“It is our strategy that from high cash dominated economy we should become a less cash economy where the amount of paper currency comes down,” the Union Finance minister said.

Besides, restrictions on cash spending together with mandatory furnishing of PAN will help bring down the level of corruption, he said.

New Delhi: People stand in queues to withdraw cash from an ATM in New Delhi, December 9, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: People stand in queues to withdraw cash from an ATM in New Delhi, December 9, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Defending the government move to demonetise the higher denomination currency notes, Jaitely reasoned that large volume of cash has come into the banking system, which will help earn taxes wherever they are not paid.

“Future transactions would be substantially digital and once they are substantially digital they get caught in the tax net. Therefore the future taxation level would be much higher than what is currently being collected,” he said.

The government, however, is battling severe criticism over the implementation of its note ban decision, which has thus led to rush and long queues at the banks and ATMs. The government once again assured that the pressure will ease in coming days.

“As more and more of the new currency comes into circulation and re circulated in the banking system, ATMs will make it increasingly available,” Jaitley said.

Stating that the government is ready for a debate on the demonetisation issue in Parliament, he asked the Congress and other opposition parties to “rise above slogans and look at the positive advantages that this changes system in the long run is going to bring to the economy as a whole”.

Both the house of parliament have been witnessing a stormy protest by the opposition, leading to several adjournments that is now lending hints of another washout session in Parliament.