New Delhi: Law and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said the decision to scrap Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes was taken by the government on the recommendation of the Reserve Bank of India.
“It is not demonetisation. It is a wrong expression. Our government has only taken decision upon recommendation of Reserve bank of India who is authority to take decisions that notes of Rs500 and Rs1000 will not be a legal tender. It is not demonetisation in classical economic sense,” he said.
The government scrapped acceptance of old Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes from 9 November onward but allowed their payment for some essential services in limited manner.
Listing out steps taken by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to deal with menace of unaccounted money at an event of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi, Prasad said Prime Minister Narendra Modi created special investigation team on black money in the very first Cabinet meeting.
The government renegotiated double taxation treaties with Mauritius and Cyprus, and bankruptcy code was brought in. India also entered into an agreement with the US under FATCA. “Then, provision under Income Tax was made to disclose black money and pay penalty, then voluntary disclosure income scheme was brought, then benami transaction rule was brought in. The decision of putting Rs 500 and Rs 1000 out of legal tender was last of these,” Prasad said.
He said that country’s economy has 12-13% cash component out of which Rs500 and Rs1,000 account for 86%. “Now this country is moving towards honesty and transparency let it move in that direction. Now it is our duty to bring India out of corruption taint,” Prasad said.
The minister further said due to economic reforms government has saved Rs36,000 crore by digitalising economic activities such as payment of subsidies and MGNREGA wages through direct cash benefit facilities on to the accounts of intended beneficiaries through Aadhaar.