Former union home secretary Madhav Godbole has hailed the government’s decision on demonetisation but cautioned that it will not curb black money on its own.
“Such decision requires a lot of political courage which nobody in the past showed. The decision to demonetise large currency notes alone is not sufficient to eradicate the menace of black money. While demonetisation has created right atmosphere, the government needs to take some firm decisions,” he told HT.
While he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the former bureaucrat criticised the finance ministry and the RBI for post-demonetisation blues, saying adequate preparations should have been done before the PM announced the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 bank notes.
“As far as demonetisation is concerned, the Prime Minister’s role is limited to taking the decision. The responsibility of implementing the decision rests with officials of departments and the institutions concerned,” he said.
Godbole said permit raj during Indira Gandhi’s regime had led to corruption on massive scale.
“When powers were centralized, it led to massive corruption. To curb this, Wanchoo Committee then recommended demonetisation, which many in the top circle of Delhi wanted to be implemented,” he said.
In his speech to BJP MPs on Friday, Modi referred Godbole’s autobiography Unfinished Innings: Recollections and Reflections of a Civil Servant, which mentioned how the then finance minister YB Chavan had proposed demonetisation in 1971 but Prime Minister Indira Gandhi rejected the idea.
While defending his decision, Modi had criticised Indira Gandhi for her failure to decide in 1971 when she was heading the government, thus putting party ahead of the country.
“We needed to do it in 1971. We have caused huge losses by not doing this since 1971,” Modi told BJP parliamentarians, lashing out at the Congress for not taking effective measures to curb black money in the country.
“Godbole says in the book that Gandhi replied saying ‘are no more elections to be fought by the Congress’? Chavan got the message and the recommendation was dropped,” Modi had said.
“This was in 1971 when everybody recommended this. Had it (demonetisation) been done in 1971, the nation wouldn’t have been in this situation today,” the PM had said.