Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden announcement to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation, though welcomed by many across the country, has left people in the lurch and in a state of confusion. People have been desperately queuing up outside banks and ATMs to exchange old notes for new ones or withdraw cash in new currency. The narrative of the ‘historic’ demonetisation move had been projected as a war to root out the menace of black money, corruption and counterfeit currency. However, the PM’s subsequent speeches have indicated a shift in his stand on demonetisation action and its objectives.
Here are the important quotes of Modi’s speeches made since demonetisation:
November 8: Announcing that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 will cease to be legal tender, PM Modi said, “This is a chance for every citizen to take part in the fight against black money and corruption.”
November 13: Addressing a gathering in Goa, PM Modi said, “I had just asked for 50 days for demonetisation work. Dear countrymen please give me these 50 days. I am not demanding anything else. If you face any difficulty after that.. if you find me dishonest in my effort, you can punish me in whatever way you would wish to at any crossroad of the country. “Mind you, this is not the end of the road, this not the full stop. I have got many projects lined up to curb corruption and dishonesty in the country. These measures are inevitable if the condition of honest and poor people of the country is to be improved,” he had said.
November 19: Addressing the Global Citizens festival in Mumbai, PM Modi said, “Thank you guys for having me over. You have been smart in asking me to only address the gathering, and not sing. Else, I am pretty sure your audience would be asking you for their money back. And that too in 100 rupee notes.”
November 25: Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of the All-India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bathinda, Modi urged people to use their phones for transactions. “Your mobile phone can be turned into your bank and wallet. Today’s tech can help you use it for purchasing things, making payments,” said Modi.
November 27: In his 26th monthly radio talk to the nation “Mann ki Baat”, the Prime Minister pushed for cashless society. He said, “Scrapping these notes has opened other avenues to make payments. Download apps of banks and e-payment options. Shopkeepers can keep card swiping facilities and everyone can ensure they pay safe using their credit and debit cards. If not a 100% cashless society, I request you to make India ‘less-cash society.”
“You have to voluntarily lend your leadership to this great campaign, this Maha Abhiyan, to create a ‘cashless society’, to eradicate corruption from our country, to abolish the scourge of black money and to help people in overcoming their difficulties and problems. Once you teach the poor people about the usage of Rupay Card, they will shower their blessings upon you,” he said.
December 22: During an address at the Banaras Hindu University in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi, Modi launched a blistering attack against the opposition. The PM said the opposition’s argument that promoting cashless economy was futile due to poverty, illiteracy and electricity not reaching villages in the country “exposes” their own report card. Reacting strongly to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks, Modi said “I wonder whether he was giving his own report card by admitting the dismal situation.”