India's demonetisation completes 2 years, opposition's criticism continues

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-08 19:08:03|Editor: mym
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NEW DELHI, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- The announcement of Narendra Modi government in 2016 of demonetising the old currency notes and introducing the new ones, completed two years on Thursday.

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hailed the move, as, according to him, it "formalised" the Indian economy and broke the parallel black-money economy.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on the other hand, described it as "ill-fated and ill-thought" exercise that unleashed an havoc on the economy and society.

"demonetization impacted every single person, regardless of age, gender, religion, occupation or creed," said Manmohan Singh in an official statement issued on Thursday.

In an article titled "Impact of Demonetisation," Jaitley said that demonetization was a key step in a chain of important decisions taken by the Modi government to "formalise" the economy.

The government first targeted the black money outside India. Asset holders were asked to bring this money back on payment of penal tax. Those who failed to do so are being prosecuted under the "Black Money Act".

Details of all accounts and assets abroad which have reached the government, resulted in action against the violators, added the finance minister in his article.

Due to demonetisation, he further stated technology had been used for both direct and indirect taxes to facilitate filing of returns and expanding the tax base. Financial inclusion was another important step to ensure that even weaker sections became part of the formal economy.

He said that the move decreased the role of cash in the Indian economy and introduced digitized payments.

The Unified Payment Interface (UPI) was launched in 2016 involving real time payments between two sets of mobile holders.

According to the finance minister, the impact of demonetisation has been felt on collection of personal income tax.

Its collections were higher in Financial Year 2018-19 compared to the previous year by 20.2 percent.

On the other hand, severely attacking the Modi government's move, Manmohan Singh said that the "scars and wounds" of demonetization were only getting more visible with time.

Beyond the steep drop in headline gross domestic product (GDP) growth numbers after demonetisation, the deeper ramifications of demonetisation were still unraveling.