New Delhi: The entire nation saw and heard the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announce on November 8, 2016, that his government was scrapping the five hundred and thousand rupee notes “to break the grip of corruption and black money”. But apparently, the entire nation got it wrong.
Never had the PM said demonetisation was a move to curb black money; instead, he had clearly said it was a move to improve the economy of the country — this is what the minister of state for finance, Shiv Pratap Shukla would have us believe. “Pradhan Mantri ji ne kabhi iss baat ko nahi kaha tha ki hum ye kale dhan ke nate kar rahe hain. Balki, saaf saaf kaha tha ki desh ki arthavyavastha ko sudharne ke liye kar rahe hain (sic),” he told India Today TV.
This startling claim by Shukla comes a day after the Reserve Bank of India report for 2017-2018, released on Wednesday, stated that 99.3 per cent of the demonetised currency notes had made its way back into the banking system. The Minister has a brilliant take on this, too. Since the money stashed away in lockers returned to the banking system, the problem of black money has been solved, according to Shukla.
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu seems to be the other apologist for demonetisation. He has said that thanks to the grand vision of the PM money hidden in “bathrooms and bedrooms” made its way back into the banking system. ‘‘My simple point is money has come back. How much out of it is black or white, it is the duty of the RBI and the Income Tax Department and they will verify,” Naidu said. These comments have come on the heels of the secretary of the department of economic affairs Subhash Chandra Garg informing the media that the process of demonetisation had achieved its objectives, without elaborating further.