NEW DELHI: New measures to ease the impact of demonetisation continued to trickle in on Wednesday even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that over 93 per cent of people who took his smartphone -based survey supported the move in his fight against black money. According to a statement put out on Modi’s personal website, five lakh people responded to the survey within 15 hours of which only two per cent viewed it negatively.
However, the data quoted by government sources paint a contradictory picture, showing the fight against black money is yet to become completely effective. A whopping `21 crore was deposited in Jan Dhan accounts across the country since November 8, sources in the Finance Ministry claimed.
Jan Dhan accounts have been under the tax scanner after widespread reports of hoarders depositing their unaccounted wealth into poor people’s accounts. The highest number of such incidents were reported from West Bengal, claimed the sources. Interestingly, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been a vehement critic and played a crucial role in uniting the opposition parties.
Meanwhile, among the measures announced by the was a grant of `21,000 by NABARD to District Central Cooperative Banks. This, the government said, would enable these banks to disburse crop loans to farmers anticipating the rabi season. Making new notes available across 1.5 lakh post offices, doubling e-wallet capacity and waiving of service charge on mobile banking through feature phones were some of the other measures announced. With almost 65 per cent of all mobile users using basic feature phones, the move would benefit farmers, said economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das.
The government has also informed all auto manufacturers to equip new vehicles with ECF-compliant RFID facility, so that highway tolls can be collected electronically. Amidst all the chaos and course corrections, the conspicuous silence of RBI Governor Urjit Patel triggered several doubts and speculations.
“While Patel’s low profile was initially seen as a foil for Modi’s high-visibility, it risks backfiring as public anger increases. Credibility and autonomy of the RBI is linked to the value investors assign the rupee, which is sliding toward a record low,” news agency Bloomberg opined.