COUNTERING THE Opposition attack on demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes during the debate in Rajya Sabha, BJP leaders on Wednesday said the decision was taken in national interest, and argued that those opposing the move will be seen as supporting black money and corruption.
Answering Congress leaders’ argument that monetary policy is in the RBI’s domain, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said the Prime Minister has the right to take the decision, and there was no such situation that an ordinance had to be brought in. “(The) RBI formulates monetary policy and the Reserve Bank board took the decision (of demonetisation). On the basis of that decision 500- and 1000-rupee notes were scrapped,” he said.
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He rejected the Opposition’s charge that the decision was leaked and said secrecy was important for such a step. Although people are facing some inconvenience, as some difficulty is inevitable while implementing such a decision, the whole country is with the government on this issue and has applauded the move, he claimed.
Goyal also said the situation has eased considerably over the past one week. “If anyone has the strength to take on black money and corruption, it is the BJP government and Narendra Modi,” he asserted.
“It is a step on which we thought there will be all-round support in the House…. (But) it is unfortunate that these political parties are opposing the decision for some reason…or are worried since the public has liked and applauded the move and are saying that for the first time the country has seen a Prime Minister and a government which is actually waging a swift and concrete battle against black money, corruption and terrorism,” Goyal said.
“It is in the interest of the nation…if somebody says they are opposed to this…then it is natural for people to ask whether that person is supporting black money and corruption,” he said. He said it is said that the Modi government is with traders and businessman. “Had it been so, and had there been any substance in your allegation, then such a step to curb black money would not have been taken,” Goyal said. “This step proves that only the BJP has the strength to fight against black money and corruption.”
He said he is “confident” that people realise that there are initial snags because the decision was kept a secret.
“No honest taxpayer will lose a single rupee. The loss will be of those who have amassed wealth through corruption and black money, and the public should also support the government in the move,” he added.
Goyal said the entire country had welcomed the decision. He said only some were upset because they had been hit by the move.
Giving an analogy of labour pain (prasav vedna) that women undergo during delivery, I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu sought to counter the Opposition attack over “inconvenience” of standing in queues to withdraw money.
“Temporary pain for long-term gain is the buzzword across the country (now),” Naidu said. “The country is watching who is saying what. The benchmark is who is opposing transformation and who is backing it. Is hoarding and circulating black money a fundamental right? Some are unfortunately opposing even the basic principles.”
He said that when he asked for public reaction, one person told him that during childbirth “there is labour pain for 15-20 days. This temporary pain is going to get long-term gain”.
He said, “The Prime Minister wants a behavioural change in the country…. This is a war on corruption and black money and you (Opposition) have to decide which side you are on,” he added.