NEW DELHI: As the Central Government’s financial agencies are going behind the people using rogue bank accounts to park their black money; Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that action would be taken against those guilty under “benami” law.
Prime Minister Modi devoted a considerable part of his “Mann ki Baat” radio address to the demonetisation, as confusion reigns over the ongoing drive. Admitting that the shock induced by the demonetisation is likely to subside in 50 days, Modi outlined his vision of first nudging India towards a “less-cash society” and then towards “cash less society”.
Since Prime Minister Modi’s announcement of rendering the currency in the denomination of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 illegal on November 8, news have been pouring in that people have found ways to park their black money in the accounts of poor people. Modi warned these “unscrupulous elements” that law against “benami” transactions will be invoked to deal with them.
"Even now, some people think they can bring their black money, the money earned through corruption or the one which is unaccounted for, back into the system through illegal means. Unfortunately, they are misusing the poor for this purpose by misleading, luring or tempting them by putting money into their accounts," said Modi.
Since demonetisation was announced, Income Tax sleuths have been scanning bank accounts for unexplained deposits since November 8. Agencies have unearthed 1,650 rogue accounts and show cause notices have been issued to the holders.
Modi has been facing flak from an intransigent Opposition in the Winter Session of the Parliament that has been demanding the Prime Minister to answer their queries in the House. In a move that is likely to take out some fizz out of the Opposition’s attack, Prime Minister Modi chose to speak to people directly through his programme.
"Our dream is for a cashless society. It is correct that we cannot achieve it immediately. But India can definitely move towards a less-cash society. Once we start the move towards a less-cash society, the goal of a cashless society will not be far away," the Prime Minister said in his first Mann ki Baat programme since the demonetisation was announced 10 days ago.
Prime Minister’s enthusiasm did not find resonance with other political parties. Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted: “I’d love to move to a cashless economy but given the reliability of connectivity in J&K and the absence of points of sale I fear I’d starve.” “And I live in Srinagar. Imagine asking people in Gurez, Karnah, Keran & other remote areas to dispense with cash!!! Totally unrealistic idea,” he added.
While appreciating the small time traders, farmers and workers of braving through the difficulties posed by the demonetisation drive, he said that it provides an opportunity to make the shift towards digital transactions. Opposition has been targeting the BJP-led government for the poorly managed and executed demonetisation as it has increased hardships in the life of common man. However, PM Modi said that the people were making sacrifices for a better India, and appealed to the youth, "the true soldiers", to lead the battle against corruption.
Modi contended that digital transaction was no less than using WhatsApp; and urged the youth to start a campaign by educating 10 families or small traders in the use of digital banking through mobile. “Such drives should be carried out in schools, colleges, NCC and NSS, he said, adding that the "youths are agents of change."