Panaji : In run-up to Goa Assembly polls, the Church has said the Centre has “shifted” from its social policy of upliftment of the poor with its push for cashless transactions, drawing a sharp riposte from BJP which said the party and the country are on the same page on the issue of digitisation of economy.

“It is their view. Our view is different. Country’s view is different. Country’s view is that this (cashless trade) was long overdue,” Union minister and senior BJP leader Venkiah Naidu said reacting to the Church’s statement.

In its guidelines issued for Catholic voters in the run-up to the Goa polls scheduled on February 4, Goa Church organ ‘Council for Social Justice and Peace’ said, “The shift from the social policy of ‘Roti, Kapda aur Makaan’ for uplift of the poor sections of the society to an emphasis on digital and cashless policy involving smart phones, ATM cards and Paytm apps as the basic requirement for every citizen to avail of government benefits and purchase their basic needs is a worrisome phenomenon.”

The Church said it was a “disturbing development” that the select private business interests are being promoted through government policies under the pretext of fostering economic growth, tackling corruption and ensuring transparency through digitalisation, are a disturbing development.

Referring to demonetisation policy and the digital push by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naidu said, “There is a parallel economy growing on in the country. There is a counterfeit industry going on in the country. Our neighbour who is abetting, funding, supporting terrorists, they also made us to think seriously about this.

“….And you know hawala transactions, you know drug trafficking, you know human trafficking, all these are thriving on parallel economy, counterfeit currency and black money. They are also affected (post demonetisation,” the minister added. He said the BJP doesn’t “regret” its decision of financial digitalisation.

“It (the digitisation of transactions) is not aimed at church, temples or mosques. They have right to express their views,” he said.

Responding to a query on electoral reforms, Naidu said “unless electoral corruption and influence of black money is arrested the reform is incomplete. The PM has already given indication. We cannot have a reform without consensus. Definitely, government will move for consensus and go for electoral reforms.” —PTI

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