Modi’s master plan for “A Corruption Free India”

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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.

Benami Property – The next target after Demonetisation

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“Cleanliness” and “Sleeplessness” suddenly hold new definitions in a country that prides itself on democratic systems and the power of the people! Could they have ever come harder than they have in the past six days? Hold on India – The country is in for sweeping changes and suddenly nobody can turn their eyes away. A tsunami named Modi is sweeping across the nation and the population can only stand wonder eyed as the economy undergoes mammoth changes. In a series of steps to be taken over the next few months, the Prime Minister in his Goa speech on November 12, enumerated proposed – attacks –  on major banes of our society namely, Benami property, Gold hoarding, hawala transactions. The Prime Minister has appreciated the segment of population that wants to be honest and enumerated the achievements by the common man so far –

  • In just the past two years, almost 1.25 lac crores has been deposited in the light of various raids, surveys and other declarations
  • There have been 20 crores PM Jan Dhan accounts opened and these people have also been given Rupay Debit cards with which they can make purchases
  • An astonishing amount of almost 45000 crores was deposited in the Jan Dhan accounts

It is no small thing that 86% of the money in circulation suddenly becomes meaningless. This is bound to create ripples across the economy.

For those of us who might not be familiar with the concept, Benami property essentially means property bought by an individual, but not in his name. In short, the financer of the property and the owner on paper are two different people – the main beneficiary being the financer only. It has been reported on various occasions that almost 50% of the country’s unaccounted wealth lies in the form of Benami transactions.Situations in which a property would not be Benami are –

  • when the property is bought in the name of children or spouse with declared, known income
  • property bought in joint ownership with a sibling
  • property held as a trustee

Effectively, even if property is bought in the name of parents, it would be considered ‘benami’.  Under the new amendment act operational from November, there is seven years imprisonment as well as heavy penalty for those found guilty of having indulged in such sales.

Besides, Modi has vowed to put an end to the conversion of gold into black money. There have been instances of people buying jewellery without disclosing anything. Now onwards, anybody trying to buy jewellery for more than Rs 2 lacs will have to give their PAN cards as proof. Further, jewellers will also have to pay excise duties now – this is something that previous governments have always backtracked on.

In what is said to be a 50 day countdown, Modi promises to actually bring about a Swatch “Bharat Abhiyaan” in its truest essence.

Watch this space for more!