Panaji/Belagavi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a scathing attack on detractors of the demonetisation move, especially the Congress, saying those involved in mega scams were now standing in queues to exchange Rs4,000 and announcing that more anti-graft measures were on the anvil.
Modi, who got emotional while addressing a function at Panaji over the problems being faced by the people and the long queues in banks, urged them to bear with him till December 30, saying “I will give you the India you desired”.
He stressed the need to go cashless and adopt plastic money.
Making a combative but emotional speech, he said he was ready to face the consequences of his moves as certain forces are “up against me” as their 70 years of loot was now in trouble as a result of demonetisation.
“I know that (some) forces are up against me, they may not let me live, they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble, but I am prepared,” Modi said in the speech which saw him getting emotional a few times.
“This government does not want to bother honest people but doesn’t want to spare the dishonest. Bear with me for 50 days. Has India been looted or not?.....I am not going to stop at this. I will expose the history of corruption of 70 years since Independence,” Modi said.
“This (demonetisation) is not an end. I have more projects in mind to make India corruption-free....We will take action against ‘benami’ property. This is major step to eradicate corruption and black money... If any money that was looted in India and has left Indian shores, it is our duty to find out about it,” he said in his speeches, both at Panaji in Goa and Belagavi in Karnataka.
Hitting out at the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance government for not fighting corruption, Modi said “those who were involved in the coal scam, 2G scam and other scams, now have to stand in queues to exchange Rs4,000.
“When Congress stopped 25 paise, did we say anything? You could dare to stop only 25 paise, that’s what your power was limited to.
But you did not make higher denomination currency notes illegal.... We did it. People have chosen a government and they expect so much from it.”
He said the people had voted against corruption in 2014.
“I am doing what I was asked to do by the people of this country. This had become clear from the very first meeting of my cabinet when I formed the SIT (on black money).We never kept the people in dark.” “Soon after assuming power, a Supreme Court monitored Special Investigation Team was formed to investigate the black money parked outside the country. Previous governments neglected this; Did I hide anything? We took a key step to help the honest citizens defeat the menace of graft.
“We collected Rs 670 billion under amnesty scheme. But in the last two years, through raids, surveys and declarations, the government has collected Rs1.250 billion in its exchequer...I kept on administering small doses of medicine to improve the economic situation of the country since I came to power,” Modi said, referring to the Jan Dhan scheme aimed at financial inclusion.
Revealing the efforts behind the demonetisation move, the prime minister said it was “a secret operation I started 10 months back and had formed a small team.
“The secret operation was of course not the one like (Defence Minister Manohar) Parrikar had launched (surgical strike across the border). We had to print new currency notes and take other steps in secret”, otherwise the corrupt would have found other ways to deal with the situation.
Stressing the need to go cashless in transactions, he said “there is a talk about a cashless society and we should shift to plastic money.
That’s why we have removed all taxes from debit and credit cards in the budget.”
He also asked to the people not to panic “by bartering Rs500 for Rs300” and get the full value of their hard-earned money.”There is pain due to demonetisation but more to gain.”
Appealing to the people to bear with him for 50 days (till December 30), he said “if you find anything wrong with my intentions or my actions, hang me in public. I promise you I will give you the India which you desired. If someone faces problem, I also feel the pain.I understand their problem but this is only for 50 days and after 50 days we succeed in this cleansing.”
“I am not born to occupy the high chair. I have left my village, my family for the sake of the country,” Modi said.
Observing that the entire population, barring a few lakh of corrupt people, were working to make this move sucessful, he said on the night of November eight when he had announced the demonetisation plan, “crores of people slept peacefully, but a few lakh (corrupt) were going to buy sleeping pills as they had lost their sleep.”
“You’ll be shocked to know that many MPs asked me not to make PAN mandatory for any purchase of jewellery,” he said, adding “today those who never used to take care of their widowed mother, are depositing Rs 250,000 in her account.”
“There are few who even dared to give me in writing (asking to relax it). The day I make their letters public, they will not be able to go to their constituencies,” he said.
Referring to recent rumours about shortage of salt in the country, Modi said “this is being done by those whose black money is being rendered useless.”
“When common people are facing hardships, I too feel bad about it. Please don’t consider the decision as my arrogance. I do understand the problems that the countrymen are currently facing but this inconvenience and suffering is only till December 30. Once the cleansing is over, not even a mosquito will be there,” he said.
“I have prayers of the poor and blessings of mothers in this fight against black money and corruption which has become the driving force for its success,” he said.
The prime minister said when his government made a law mandating that jewellers need to insist for PAN card on purchase of any gold of more than Rs200,000, over half of the Members of Parliament approached him seeking relaxation.
The prime minister said the decision to impose excise duty on jewellery was met with a lot of opposition forcing the government to form an expert committee to study the implications.
“There were fears expressed that the jewellers would be harassed by Income Tax department. I gave them full confidence that no IT officer will trouble you. If anyone does that, record his conversation and give it to me, we will take action against him,” he said.
Modi also appealed to the people to deposit stashed money in banks, and if required pay the fine and join the mainstream.
“If few people still think that they can wait, then they don’t know me,” he said.