Remonetisation will not take a long time: Arun Jaitley
Defending the government’s demonetisation initiative, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assured that remonetisation will not take a very long time.
Speaking at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FICCI’s) 89th annual general meeting on Saturday, he said that while the developed world is turning protectionist and looking inward, India is an exception with its ability to take bold decisions.
“One needs clarity, courage, broad shoulders and the stamina to take such decisions,” Mr. Jaitley said.
The government has taken a “courageous step in the direction of removing the legal tender nature of high-value currency notes and went in for a large scale currency swap,” he said.
The demonetisation decision, besides several other implications, will mark the creation of a new normal for India, he remarked. “The 70 years of normal we saw before is unacceptable. It had become a way of life, not merely because of a high cash-to-GDP ratio, but also had adverse socio-economic consequences, such as not getting into banking system, escaping the tax net and using cash for crimes.”
“Only Parliament, in fact, a section of the Parliament seems to be unaware of what is happening… In 2000, people would have laughed at the suggestion of every poor person having a mobile phone. The same principle applies today,” he said, referring to the drive towards a more digital economy.
He said that there are over 75 crore debit and credit cards, different types of e-wallets coming up and 100 to 1,000 per cent rise in use of digital modes of payments.
On GST, the Finance Minister exuded confidence about reaching a consensus with States on the legislations that need to be passed to operationalise it.
Ten important decisions have already been taken with complete consensus of the Council, he said. “One major issue, which is in fact a very small issue in the larger scheme of things, is the issue of cross-empowering Centre and States on assessment of taxpayers. We are trying to resolve this,” he noted.