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Black money stashed in foreign shores, not in India: Former minister

Hyderabad: Coming down heavily on the demonetisation drive of the NDA government, former Union Minister and eminent journalist Arun Shourie today wondered how the move would help check black money which is lying in foreign shores.

“The one who actually has black money, is he keeping it in India in rupees?…Those who have black money, they keep it outside. They buy companies, they buy estates. This dengue mosquito is flying in Switzerland and you are wielding the stick here?” he said, speaking at the ongoing Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF) here.

He claimed that people do not exactly know whether demonetisation would help control black money or not.

“An idea does not become valid just because the people have voted for it. People don’t know. They don’t know the merits of or demerits of demonetisation. They don’t know whether it is actually against black money or it actually generates more black money. I don’t understand.”

“They don’t know that (Rs) 15.50 lakh crore worth of currency was finished and it was said that it was for terrorist money or fake currency and that turned out to be 0.02 per cent, as per the government’s own answer in Parliament. They don’t know…Then, it is for GST. Cashless, what is such a big thing in cashless,” he said.

Saying that the NDA government ought to have concentrated on tax administration and boosting the banking sector, Shourie alleged that nothing has been done in the last two-and-a-half years.

“The main task for the last six-seven years has been on the revival of private investment. It is because the private investment fell from 19 per cent to 14 per cent of the GDP during the last three years of Manmohan Singh’s regime, that this whole period of stagnation, low growth started.”

“This was the principal task for this government. For that, they had to work on the banks and they had to work on the tax administration even more than on tax rates. On these two things, nothing has been done in two-and-half years. This is the root of our problem,” he said.

Shourie also alleged that public resources have been wasted in not creating productive assets for economy to grow. “Public resources have been wasted on not creating productive assets which is how economies grow in the future. The question is what are you doing for expansion of productive assets,” he said.

He disapproved of the practice of giving subsidies to common people, which in turn is expected to lead to consumption led growth.

“About common man, you give subsidy, it comes directly to your account. It is like throwing money out of the window. Somebody will pick it up, you can go and buy something. You say, it is consumption-led growth. It is nonsense,” he said.

PTI