Government fields union ministers to counter Opposition charges

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that tax and revenue collections have gone up showing clear results of the Prime Minister's November 8 announcement on demonetisation.

Published: 29th December 2016 05:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th December 2016 07:44 PM   |  A+A-

Venkaiah Naidu_PTI

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu | PTI

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Government has decided to go aggressive while defending the benefits of demonetisation. It fielded many senior ministers on Thursday to counter the Opposition attack and to hit back at Congress. The exercise will continue for next few days as BJP sources said that the finance ministry is ready with a presentation on benefits of noteban which will be shown to union ministers and party parliamentarians.

Highly placed sources in the BJP said that ministers and party lawmakers will be present in different parts of the country to reach out to people on December 31 as the first phase of the drive against black money will come to an end. On this occasion, the government will also announce winners of a mega lucky draw for people who have made maximum number of digital transactions. 

On Thursday, BJP hit back at Congress warning the party of legal action over its "baseless and untrue" allegations, including that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its chief Amit Shah have links with Gujarat businessman Mahesh Shah, who is being probed for declaring unaccounted income of Rs 13,860 crore.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also rejected Congress' charge against Amit Shah, who is one of the directors in a Gujarat bank in which deposits of over Rs 500 crore were made and asserted that the bank has over 200 branches and it will give explanation about the matter.

"We want to make it clear that our Prime Minister and party president have no links whatsoever with the person by the name of Mahesh Sharma, against whom action is going on. If Congress has any proof, it should talk about it. Otherwise, we will consider taking legal action under the law dealing with levelling of baseless allegations," Prasad said.

Prasad was accompanied by Power Minister Piyush Goyal in countering the allegations.  Goyal refuted the allegations that crores of rupees have been sent to BJP office in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, demanding that proof be given and warning of legal action. "We are getting indication for an historic support for BJP in UP," he said, claiming that people have supported note ban despite hardships.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley mainly spoke on the benefits of demonetisation. He said that tax and revenue collections have gone up showing clear results of the Prime Minister's November 8 announcement on demonetisation. “A large portion of the currency wiped out by the notes ban has already been replaced and the Reserve Bank has adequate new currency and would release 500 rupee notes to remonetise…The people have supported this move significantly, and not a single incident of any form of unrest has been reported in the country since the notes ban,” Jaitley said.

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu accused Congress of trying to "tar" the government's image by calling demonetisation a scam, said the note ban move was an "anti-scam vaccine" but the opposition party is rattled at the prospect of the government going after illegal money.

Naidu said that Contrary to perceptions, Rabi sowing increased by 6.37%, no. of foreign tourists by 9.3% & foreign exchange earnings by 14.4% this year.

“Our government's endeavour is to unleash the 'might' of money through a white money economy, eliminating all black money. We inherited an eco-system marked by serious governance deficits. It is our endeavor to transform this desperate India to a New India,” Naidu added.


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