NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Tuesday evening that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes will be pulled from circulation, effective from midnight of November 8. Stating that the move was essential to fight “ disease of black money’, PM said that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes must be deposited at post offices and banks by the end of December.
Expressing confidence that political, other sections and media will help make the new measures successful, PM said that “We want to take this fight against corruption even ahead”.
In his first ever such address that lasted for nearly 40 minutes, the Prime Minister said Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes "will not be legal tender from midnight tonight" and these will be "just worthless piece of paper."
He assured the nation that the notes of Rs 100, 50, 10 and coins of all denominations will remain legal tender and will not be affected and that “this step will strengthen the hands of the common man in the fight against black money.”
He also said, corruption, fake currency, and terrorism are festering wounds, holding back the economy and black money to the tune of Rs 1.25 lakh crore has been unearthed during last two-and-a-half years: PM. From across the border, our enemies running a racket in India through fake currency.
The poor are left to bear the brunt of a situation like this. Buying property or taking admission in higher education is hampered. The transactions in higher currency notes also leads to hawala trade, said the Prime Minister in the surprise address.
People can deposit notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 in their respective banks from November 10 till December 30, 2016. Those unable to deposit their notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 by Dec 30 for some reason, can change the notes till March 31, 2017, by furnishing an identity (ID) proof.
The government also listed some exceptions to help minimise inconvenience, like hospitals will continue to accept the big currencies for the next 72 hours.
He said that these decisions will fully protect the interests of honest and hard-working citizens of India and that those five hundred and one thousand rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become worthless pieces of paper.
"There is a need for a decisive war against the menace of corruption, black money and terrorism... Corruption, black money and terrorism are festering wounds which make the country hollow from within," he said, adding that such activities hold back the nation's progress.
Describing illegal financial activities as the "biggest blot", Modi said that despite several steps taken by his government over the last two-and-a-half years, India's global ranking on corruption had moved only to 76th position from 100th earlier.
“This shows the extent of the web of corruption in the country. The disease of corruption is the domain of those with vested interest. Some people have misused their positions and benefited. On the other hand, honest people are suffering," he said.
The prime minister stated that time and again the government is committed to ensure that the menace of black money is overcome. “The very first decision of the NDA government was the formation of a SIT on black money”.
A law was passed in 2015 on disclosure of foreign bank accounts. In August 2016 strict rules were put in place to curtail benami transactions. During the same period a scheme to declare black money was introduced. The efforts have borne fruit. Over the past two and a half years, more than Rs. 1.25 lakh crore of black money has been unearthed.
In his address the Prime Minister described how the magnitude of cash in circulation is linked to inflation and how the inflation situation is worsened by cash deployed through corrupt means. “it adversely affects the poor and the neo-middle class people”, he said.
(With Agency inputs)