President Pranab Mukherjee described on Tuesday the government’s move to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes and other anti-corruption measures as a comprehensive policy-backed initiative against illegal cash holdings to benefit the poor.
In his speech to the joint session of Parliament on the first day of the budget session, Mukherjee mentioned a special investigation team on black money, the Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act, the Benami Transactions act and international treaties as a set of bold decisions against corruption.
“To combat the evils of black money, corruption, counterfeit currency and terror financing, my government took the decision on November 8 to demonetise old 500- and 100-rupee currency notes,” Mukherjee said in a speech prepared by the cabinet.
He also sought a debate on simultaneous election to Lok Sabha and assembly as “frequent elections put on hold disrupt normal life”.
Mukherjee said that the issue of eradication of money power also needed to be debated and the Centre would welcome any decision of the election commission in that regard.
The bold defence of demonetisation comes ahead of a stormy session where the issue is likely to see an intense debate. The last session had been washed out over this issue.
Days before polls kick off in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, the President’s speech tried to describe at length how the Modi government had worked for the poor, Dalits, tribals and minority communities. He announced, “My government is dedicated to the poor.”
As frequent disruptions have marred the session and parliamentary proceedings in the past, Mukherjee reminded lawmakers that: “We gather here today to redeem the trust reposed by our countrymen, particularly the poor, in the sacred institution of Parliament.”
“Every action of ours, in this temple of democracy must be an offering at the altar of the innumerable sacrifices that have built this nation,” he said.
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