On the fourth anniversary of demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said it has helped reduce black money, increase tax compliance and formalisation, and given a boost to transparency.
On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Modi had announced the decision to ban all currency notes of higher denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 from midnight.
Four years on, the ruling BJP is still determined to prove demonetisation was fruitful, holding a press conference in the national capital Delhi to highlight what it claims to be three key benefits of demonetisation, amid Congress mounting a social media campaign against the contentious decision.
"Demonetisation has three impacts. One, Cleaning up of the economy - Scrutiny has helped. Two, Formalisation- It has helped us to reach the poor and needy. Three, Revenue aggregation - The government could help the poor more with a larger-sized formal economy," said BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
He claimed that demonetisation was a "central attack" on black money, which the BJP MP and spokesperson claimed is the single biggest threat to India's democracy.
"From 2014 to 2016, the government announced schemes to address the informal sector. It also provided people to announced their undisclosed income for amnesty and then demonetisation was announced," he added.
BJP has pitched it as an anti-corruption move with a hashtag 'Demolishing Corruption'. They also released a small audiovisual on the occasion to highlight why the decision has been important.
Saying that there were three broad pillars of economic activities that worked behind the demonetisation decision, Chandrasekhar cited India-centric economic strategy, the betterment of lives of the poor and use of technology to clean economy.
"The economic transformations or decisions taken by Modi government in the last six years have an overall framework and thought process, one of it being demonetisation," the BJP MP said.
Earlier, Prime Minister Modi had also shared a graphic on how demonetisation has ensured better tax compliance, improved tax and GDP ratio, made India a lesser cash based economy and gave a boost to national security.
The Congress on Sunday, however, slammed the government over demonetisation, alleging that the Modi government has continuously changed the explanatory reasons for carrying out the measure four years ago and that it has "destroyed" the economy.
The Congress observed the fourth anniversary of demonetisation as "Vikshwasghaat Diwas" (betrayal day) and ran a social media campaign 'SpeakUpAgainstDeMoDisaster'.
Congress general secretary Ajay Maken at a media briefing quoted former prime minister Manmohan Singh's remarks on November 24, 2016, to hit out at the government.
"The way this scheme has been implemented -- is a monumental management failure, and in fact, it is a case of organised loot, legalised plunder of the common people," Maken quoted Singh as saying.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the government over demonetisation, alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move four years ago was aimed at helping a few of his "crony capitalist friends" and had "destroyed" the Indian economy.
Gandhi and the Congress have been alleging that the 2016 demonetisation was not in the interest of the people and had adverse effects on the economy, a charge the government has dismissed repeatedly.
In a video released as part of the party's online 'SpeakUpAgainstDeMoDisaster' campaign, Gandhi said the question is how the economy of Bangladesh "surpassed" the Indian economy as there was a time when India used to be one of the highest performing economies of the world.
Several senior Congress leaders such as Mallikarjun Kharge, Shashi Tharoor and Salman Khurshid also slammed the government over demonetisation as part of the party's online campaign.
(With agency inputs)