PATNA: The Centre’s drive for cashless transactions in the country met strong resistance on Monday from Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar, who asserted that the move will not succeed as India is still not ready for it.
In indications that his positive stand on demonetisation may be heading for a change, Kumar also said that the “sheer inconvenience” faced by the common people due to the step is unlikely to improve even after the 50 days as assured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. JD(U), which is yet to reveal its stand on a series of anti-demonetisation protest programmes planned by its ally RJD headed by Lalu Prasad Yadav starting December 28, would review the post-demonetisation situation after December 30, said Kumar.
“Cashless economy is simply not possible in a country like India. There is no doubt that the country can be cashless in a limited way now and that it would gradually increase with time. Cash still remains the ordinary citizen’s means of transaction,” said Kumar after his weekly ‘lok samvad’ programme.
“We have seen in childhood how the barter system was ending and the use of cash caught up. The transaction of cash is linked to the culture and habits of the people. No matter how much effort is made, India cannot become a cashless economy,” added the JD(U) stalwart in statements that appeared closer to the stand of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav for the first time.
Yadav has been strongly opposing the demonetisation exercise since its sudden implementation on November 8, and Kumar’s praise for the move as an anti-corruption and anti-terrorism exercise had apparently caused rifts between JD(U) and RJD.
On Election Commission of India’s proposal for a ban on anonymous donations over Rs 2,000 to political parties, Kumar said no monetary contribution to parties should be anonymous. “Even donations as small as Rs 10 should bear the name of the donor,” said Kumar.
Repeating his call for raids on benami property, Kumar said: “Unless there is an attack on black money, which means many houses and other valuable assets owned by many rich and influential people, no measure would succeed… There are huge quantities of black money in the country”.