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New Delhi: In a staunch defence of the demonetisation initiative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was a good example of ‘long-term structural reform’.

He said this in an interview to India Today magazine on the eve of the 30 December deadline for depositing demonetised notes of Rs500 and Rs1,000 denominations.

The interview is the first in a series of high profile public engagements that the prime minister will undertake over the next few days as he takes his political battle on demonetisation to the opposition. The PM is scheduled to address the nation ahead of the New Year on 31 December. He is expected to follow this up with a public rally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh on 2 January.

Also Read: Full text of Arun Jaitley’s speech on impact of demonetisation

In the interview, excerpts of which were released by the weekly on Thursday, Modi attacked the opposition, particularly the Congress, batted for digital transactions and highlighted the need for stricter laws on political funding, among other things.

“We took the demonetisation decision not for some short-term windfall gain, but for a long-term structural transformation. Our objective was to clean up our economy and society of the menace of black money, purging the distrust and other ills that come with it. The revenue collected will be used for the welfare of the poor and downtrodden," Modi said in the interview.

Also Read: Measuring Narendra Modi’s monumental mismanagement

He added that the revenue collected will be used for welfare programmes.

Modi dismissed charges levelled by former prime minister Manmohan Singh during the winter session of Parliament and said: “It is interesting that the words ‘monumental mismanagement’ come from a leader who has been at the helm of India’s economic journey for around 45 years. His reference to ‘organised loot’ was perhaps a reference to the coal scam, the 2G and CWG scam under his leadership."

The prime minister is pushing forth the anti-corruption narrative in his engagements including cornering the Congress and sections of opposition. In Thursday’s interview too, he targeted the Congress saying that “the desperation they have been exhibiting" was a reflection of their preoccupation with elections.

Also Read: RBI approved Modi’s demonetisation bid hours before his announcement

Having spoken on the reform of political funding at a Kanpur rally last week, Modi re-iterated his resolve to work on the issue in the India Today interview and said that the need of the hour was to “comprehensively relook and reform" it. He also talked about how multiple elections raise political expenditure and keep the country in an election mode.

“What the prime minister is thinking is to move India forward to digital transactions which may be good for the future but people must be trained. The idea is to be appreciated but may not help politically due to the hardships that have been faced by people," said S.K. Dwivedi, a political analyst and professor of political science, Lucknow University

Meenal Thakur contributed to this story.

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