Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation moved bore results, adding that critical part of the exercise to scrap high-value banknotes was over.
“We are extremely grateful to people of India who have supported the move of demonetisation… Life insurance, tourism, petroleum consumption, flow of mutual fund investment has increased during this period,” Jaitley told reporters.
The Narendra Modi-led government, which has come under criticism after the November 8 demonetisation drive, plans to roll out a campaign to reach out to the masses over the move.
Shortly after a press conference by Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Ravi Shankar Prasad over the results of demonetisation, Jaitley said the gross direct tax collection was now growing at a rate of 14.4% over last year. This growth rate was only 8.3% previous year, he added.
Jaitley’s remarks came after the Congress announced that it will launch a nationwide protest from January 6 on the twin issues of note ban and corruption charges against Modi.
“The Congress will start a three-phase nationwide agitation from January to protest against demonetisation and corruption charges against the Prime Minister. The first phase will start from January 6,” said Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress communication department in-charge.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has accused Modi of taking Rs 65 crore in kickbacks from corporates when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.
Surjewala alleged the Modi government had imposed economic anarchy through demonetisation.
“At least 115 people have died due to demonetisation. The RBI has become the Reverse Bank of India, and in 50 days, rules have changed 135 times.”
“Unlike what Modi promised, people continue to suffer even after the expiry of 50-day deadline. In fact, it will take at least 7-8 months to re-print the 86% of notes withdrawn from the economy,” said Surjewala.
Jaitley said not a single case of unrest had been reported since the demonetisation move. “Critical part of remonetisation is now behind us, it will be much better going forward,” the finance minister said.