BHUBANESWAR: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created a ‘new normal’ for the country’s economy by breaking all stereotypes of the past through his demonetisation move.
“Earlier, it was so much in cash and cheque. This was the Indian normal. The Prime Minister redefined the new normal though his bold initiative of demonetisation of high value currency notes. Now there will be less cash transaction and an increase in digital currency,” Jaitley said.
Speaking on ‘Indian economy: The new normal’ in the aftermath of demonetisation, Jaitley said for the first time, such a decision was taken which was difficult to implement because of many challenges that came with it. The Prime Minister had the temerity to take such a hard decision to fight black money and corruption, he said.
Attacking the Congress and other political parties opposing demonetisation, the Union Finance Minister said corruption was all-pervasive during the UPA Government. Though half of NDA Government’s term is over, nobody is talking about corruption any more.
“Implementing such a decision is not only difficult but painful which we are experiencing. Replacing 86 per cent of the currency in circulation is a challenging task because of the huge logistics involved and secrecy need to be maintained at all levels,” he said.
Despite all odds, the people of the country have accepted this reality with enthusiasm and have shown greater maturity. Attempts by some political parties and a section of the media to provoke people against the Government have proved futile, Jaitley said.
“Two categories of people have not changed - politicians and mediapersons. The Congress and Left parties are still asking when things will change while a section of the media is showing only the negative aspects of demonetisation. However, they don’t realise that the country has already changed and people have accepted the move of the Government,” he remarked.
For the first time, people of the country have started realising the benefit to be honest, Jaitely said.
The Union Finance Minister said he was surprised when the banks informed him that 80 crore credit and debit cards are in circulation of which 45 crore are active. Besides, crores of people have resorted to the e-wallet system which started only 15 months back.
“We don’t realise how fast the economic scenario is changing. Once demonetisation is complete and transaction is made on digital platform, the future of the country will be bright,” he said.
Earlier, the country was unified politically but not economically. Economic integration of the country will happen after implementation of the GST, he said. “I believe that the two initiatives - GST and demonetisation - would eventually benefit the whole country which will be a one big market,” he said.
Tax evasion would be increasingly difficult because at some point of transaction - from inception to the end - the whole process of manufacture would be captured on the IT backbone that is being developed.