Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday denied that the November 8 demonetisation was announced without proper preparations which is putting the common man through immense difficulties.
“The government was fully prepared before announcing the decision despite the requirement of strict secrecy,” Jaitley said at an all-party meeting convened by the government on the eve of the winter session of Parliament, which begins in New Delhi from Wednesday.
He said the decision was only part of the larger government strategy to tackle corruption and unaccounted money.
“It started with the government’s decision to set up a Special Investigation Team on unaccounted money right after assumption of office,” Jaitley said.
He said opening the bank accounts of a large number of people was the central piece of the broad strategy to checkmate the flow of unaccounted money.
“Round tripping of monies through Mauritius, Cyprus and now Singapore was effectively checked,” he said.
The minister said while currency accounts for only 4% of gross domestic product across the world, it comes to 12% in India and hence the government is working towards effective currency management.
The opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party, accused the central government of not ensuring that they were fully prepared for the drastic move.
Delhi chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said demonetisation will not bring black money into the banking system but only lead to changing hands.
West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee termed it as a hasty decision while Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said it was a very badly executed move.