New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday hit out at critics of the demonetisation drive and promised to continue the fight against black money while citing independent data to argue that 3 lakh crore of unaccounted wealth had flown into the banking system due to the withdrawal of two high denomination notes.
“When demonetisation was announced, the world was surprised. People thought that this was the end of Modi. But the way our 125 crore countrymen showed patience and faith, we were able to take one step after another in our drive against corruption,” the PM said in his Independence Day address.
Modi said deposits of over 1.75 lakh crore made in banks post demonetisation, and 18 lakh people with income suspected to be beyond their known sources, were under scrutiny. Of the 18 lakh, 4.5 lakh people are now amending their “mistakes”, while one lakh “who had neither heard of income tax nor paid income tax have now been forced to do so”, the PM said. Modi added that demonetisation forced “black money which was hidden to be brought to mainstream. Our effort was to get money into banks and make it a part of formal economy and we have done it successfully”.
He suggested that compliance levels had improved, which was manifested in the surge in tax filers, pointing out that the number of additional I-T returns filed between April and August 5 had more than doubled to 56 lakh this year, compared to 22 lakh in the corresponding period last year. Besides, he pointed to other steps initiated by his government since it swept to power in 2014 to argue that the fight against black money was unrelenting. Modi said that over 3 lakh shell companies had been detected, of which around 1.75 lakh had been de-registered.
“Post demonetisation, the reports from data-mining astonishingly revealed that there are 3 lakh shell companies dealing in hawala transactions… Even if five companies shut shop in India, there is a huge public outcry. And here, we have closed 1.75 lakh companies. The looters of nation’s wealth will have to answer.”
The demonetisation move, he said, had checked the generation of new black money. The PM also said that in a short span of time, the authorities had confiscated more than 800 crore of benami properties.