- Opposition plans protests to mark one-year anniversary of note-bandi
- Ministers to tour country and tell public of benefits of reform: BJP
- Demonetisation brought more people into tax net: Arun Jaitley
The opposition said yesterday that an amalgamation of 18 parties including the Congress, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool and the Left will ensure that the day is observed as a "black day" with protests and rallies in different states to highlight the cash crunch and economic slowdown that followed demonetisation.
"I think the Congress has not understood the concept of demonetisation. The ownership of cash is not known, it is an anonymous owner. So when cash gets deposited in banks, what was being laundered earlier, now gets into the law books. So for entry into the lawful system, you are liable to pay tax," said the Finance Minister.
Demonetisation, which yanked nearly 86 per cent of the currency in circulation at the time, has been acknowledged by experts as one of the main reasons for the economic lull, which saw growth plunge to a three-year low of 5.7% in the last quarter. The other contributing factor is seen as the new GST or Goods and Services Tax, which was introduced in July with confusing rates, complicated filing systems, and an online giant IT network that crashed frequently.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government have described GST and demonetisation as key structural reforms that will deliver vast progress in the fight against corruption and untaxed or black money.
The Reserve Bank of India has said that nearly all the banned currency was deposited in banks across the country, allowing critics to claim that the reform made no headway in forcing the destruction of black money.
But Mr Jaitley reiterated the government's defense today stating that "Major objectives behind demonetisation are already achieved" and said these included increasing the base of tax payers and digital transactions to make the country less reliant on cash.