After a 2 day stint in Japan Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to a completely changed India in comparison with the one he had left behind. Following his announcement on the war on black money the Indian PM had been hailed a hero, bringing about a much needed change to end corruption in the country. However upon his return he was welcomed with brickbats. Millions of Indians had been left stranded with no legitimate currency to purchase even essential commodities.
At a public meeting in Goa he gave a befitting answer to not just the harassed citizens but his political opponents too over his recent move. A 50 day moratorium was given to expose corruption in the country. A visibly emotional Modi confessed that he had given his entire life for the country and come what may he would continue to serve the people of India and fulfil their demands.
Greeting all those present at the meeting Mr. Modi moved on to the burning topic of currency. He asked the people if they had voted him to power for his vow to fight against corruption. He said if the economists and experts had analysed the financial situation of the country and made amendments periodically this situation would never have arisen. It was a daunting task and he agreed that the fight was going to be long and tough. However he called upon the citizens of the country to support his decision and be patient as the changes took place to allow a new, clean and stronger fiscal India to evolve.
Mr. Modi continued that a SIT had been constituted with the Supreme Court monitoring it. Every 6 months the team would report to the SC on matters of black money and areas of deposit of the same across the world. He said considering the bold steps he had taken in his first cabinet, it was obvious that he had given no signals of leniency about black money and corruption. He had been forthright and honest about all his plans and intended to fulfil the promises he had given to the voters.
There were hurdles in his way mainly over disclosure of names and companies that were hoarding black money abroad. Due to the clauses mentioned in the bilateral tax agreements, nations were apprehensive about giving details of those that had deposited illegal money in their banks. USA however was convinced of the drastic changes Modi wanted to implement in India. Arrangements were finally also made to get details of money going out of the country to other nations. Talks are still being held with several countries to get information on the same.
His next project, which is already underway, is to deal with the issue of benami property, which rightfully belongs to the poor and the country. No undisclosed property in the country will be left unchecked. The corrupt are also known to buy and hoard jewellery without disclosure. Despite stiff opposition from several MPs he passed a rule that anyone buying jewellery worth 2 lakhs or more would require to submit PAN card details. The PAN details would help keep an eye on illegal transactions.
Mr. Modi admitted that the 70 year old epidemic had to be wiped out and since he was running out of time with only 17 months before the polls, it had to be done quickly and smoothly. Earlier jewellers were exempt from paying excise duty and a small number had become very powerful due to their proximity to some ministers. An expert committee was constituted to advice and record any extortion from tax officers. Similar decisions were promised by earlier governments but not implemented or not even thought of but he wanted to bring about a change for the better in the country and govern it honestly.
He continued that several people wanted to be honest and hence were given an opportunity to declare their assets and unaccounted money. Businessmen deposited money to the tune of Rs 67,000 crore and have paid the penalty. The government, in the past 2 years has collected 1.25 lac crore through various raids, surveys and declarations. Another scheme that had been introduced earlier was the Jan Dhan scheme which had been mocked by most, the relevance of which would now be known. Small steps have been taken to ensure a cleaner India, similar to giving small doses of medicine to cure an epidemic. Mr. Modi also hinted at more projects in the pipeline to curb corruption and dishonesty in the country.
Ten months ago an operation began of printing new currency notes to be distributed to banks but the information had to be kept under wraps or the corrupt would have found ways and means to cover their tracks. He appealed to the people of India to cooperate and make this into a success. He agreed that countrymen would face problems following this decision but it was only a matter of 50 days and the hardships would be over. He said he had faith in the power of honesty and firmly believed that it was not him but the 1.25 lac citizens of this country that would lead it forward and make this operation a resounding success.