New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to make another address to the nation on the notes ban on December 31, sources have said.
In a televised address on November 8, he had suddenly banned 500 and 1,000-rupee notes, a move aimed at eliminating corruption and black or undeclared money. A deadline for depositing old notes in bank accounts ends tomorrow, December 30.
The notes ban had taken out 86 per cent of the cash circulating in the economy at that time and a massive cash crunch has followed, disrupting daily life, with people struggling to get new currency notes and holding back on spending, except for immediate and urgent needs.
The days after the ban saw long lines at banks and ATMs as people rushed to exchange old notes for new currency over the counter. That was stopped some weeks ago, and in the middle of December the government withdrew all concessions for spending old notes at petrol pumps and other utilities.
In a new order it has said that holding more than 10 old notes after December 30 will be punishable with a 50,000 rupee fine.
As opposition parties attacked the Prime Minister for the hardships caused to people by the cash crunch, PM Modi promised that the problems would be eased within 50 days. That ends tomorrow, and ministers claim that the situation is now much better.
But political rivals like the Congress allege that the distress caused to the poor still continues. A united opposition disrupted parliament all through the winter session accusing the government of poor implementation of the demonetisation and demanding that PM Modi explain the notes ban.
The government has said the Prime Minister was ready to speak in parliament but was not allowed to do so by the opposition.
PM Modi has asked people to support his fight against corruption by bearing with he has called “short-term pain” for “long-term gain.” His party the BJP has said that the evidence that people support PM Modi lies in the party’s string performance and by-elections and civic polls held in several states after the notes ban.