The economic reforms undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go a long way in checking corruption, which according to experts could amount to as much as 23 per cent of the GDP, and curbing high inflation by inculcating the culture of cashless transactions across the state and the country, said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He was speaking during a debate on demonetisation in the the Winter Session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
Citing the IMF report of 2010 to highlight the magnitude of corruption, he said, “The sudden spurt of Rs 72,000 crore in Jan Dhan coupled with the mismatch of low taxpayers coupled with high funds in circulation cannot go unchecked.” In his one-hour-long reply, Fadnavis said, “Demonetisation is a beginning of the series of revolutionary reforms which would bridge the divide between the rich and poor and urban and rural.”
While reiterating that origins of black money is in unaccounted currency, which multiplies into benami real estate and hidden gold, he said, “More drastic measures are underway at Centre-state (levels) which would mandate that all individuals across sectors are brought into the culture of cashless transactions.” In phases two, three and four of ‘operation combat corruption’, unaccounted funds in every account would be thoroughly assessed to ascertain whether they are black or white money. Even the unaccounted funds in poor people’s Jan Dhan accounts would be tackled through stringent laws to punish those having black money who are finding ways to exploit system.
Pledging to transform Maharashtra into a cashless economy in the next two months, Fadnavis said, “We are evolving the indigenous Maharashtra Wallet.” This would enable individuals to adopt cashless transactions.
While unravelling his government’s roadmap to make the state cashless, he said, “At Harisal in Maleghat, we have brought transformation through technology. Not surprisingly, using the White Space (TV) we have brought 40 villages into mainstream communication where cashless transactions is a success model.”
Countering the opposition’s charge of lack of preparation, Fadnavis said, “When 85 per cent of the currency is replaced, teething problems are inevitable. And I must salute the people of the state and country who have showed their tremendous support in the battle against corruption despite hardships.” However, he ruled out the charge of ill-preparations, arguing, “The government over the last two years had started the process of drastic economic reforms by bringing 23 crore people, who were out of banking sector, into the Jan Dhan (yojana).”
The process of direct subsidy transfer benefit in all welfare schemes is a move to stop the exploitation of the poor and farmers, he added. The bank operations would provide the adequate foot-prints bringing accountability on every money routed in an individual’s account. It would end the financial bungling which is often the main source of exploitation of farmers and unorganised sectors, Fadnavis said.
Fadnavis disclosed that the Prime Minister, within two years, had ensured bilateral treaties with all countries in the fight against corruption, while the UPA government had refused to become a signatory of the United Nations resolution to fight corruption between 2004 and 2011. The Congress was forced to sign after the Supreme Court told the Centre to take a decision or else it would be forced to issue directives.
Fadnavis also raised the example of Dr BR Ambedkar as a votary of demonetisation. He said, “In 1923, Dr B R Ambedkar, in his thesis which was later turned into a book ‘Problems of Indian Rupee’, had strongly recommended currency replacement every ten years.” Ambedkar believed currency would help tackle black money and hoarding. Another significant aspect of currency replacement would be to tackle inflation.
While reckoning the hardships of people who are standing in queue, he said, “The economic reforms will bring development and prosperity. The road to development is bound to be riddled with thorns. But gradually, its results would be for the larger welfare of the people.”