The government would focus on getting more cash to rural areas in the coming days, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday, describing the decision to scrap high-value notes as a “great and brave step”.
Jaitley was addressing a BJP parliamentary meeting as a united Opposition has sharpened attacks on the government over the demonetisation decision which has led to cash crunch and long queues outside banks and ATMs.
“We are ready for discussion and have said it many times,” Jaitley said at the meeting also attended by Modi.
Parliament which opened for winter session on November 16 has seen regular disruptions , with Opposition demanding that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi answer queries on the surprise decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
“Demonetisation has placed a premium on the honesty of the common man,” the minister said.
The country supported the decision and “by stopping the normal of last 70 years, the PM has created a new normal”, he said, adding demonetisation would help root out poverty from the country.
Crores of rupees had come into the banking system, increasing the capacity of the banks to give loans.
Everyone should consider the intent behind the move, how it would help the poor and the country on the long run, the minister said. For next few weeks, the government would focus on agricultural sector as sowing season was about to begin.
The Opposition has accused the government of imposing financial emergency, with some parties even calling for the rollback of the move as people struggle to get cash, especially in rural areas.
The high-value notes accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation, creating a huge demand and supply gap.
There would be difficulties for some more days but banks queues were getting shorter, the minister said. While cash would continue to exist but there would be greater focus on digital currency.