New Delhi: Unfazed by combined opposition attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in and outside Parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday ruled out roll back of demonetization saying the government is firm on cleansing politics and economy of the country.
Rejecting the demand of political parties like Aam Admi Party and Trinamool Congress, he said, “whatever AAP and Trinamool Congress said about the roll back, there is no question of that. It is a clear decision of the Prime Minister and government to cleanse politics and economy of the country. We will stick to it (demonetization)”. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday organised a protest in front of RBI office in the national capital to oppose the decision of the government to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. They demanded a withdrawal of demonetization asthey believed that it is causing hardship to common man.
The issue of demonetization also rocked Parliament leading to repeated adjournments of the Rajya Sabha as well as the Lok Sabha. On opposition’s demand for a reply by Modi on the issue of demonetization in the Parliament, Jaitley said: “Government has a collective responsibility. And therefore it is the prerogative of the government on who should reply to a debate. Bulk of the debate has already taken place. I have attended the debate. And the government will decide who will reply to the debate. If the government thinks it is necessary at appropriate time for the Prime Minister to intervene, we will consider it at that stage. But it is not necessary that there is an intervention (by Prime Minister) in every debate,” said Jaitley.
He also criticised certain comments of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and senior Congress Ghulam Nabi Azad during the debate on demonetization. He added: “What is the vested interest of Congress party in opposing this campaign to root out black money, crime money and make the Indian economy cleaner. Congress as a national party must support this.”
On why the government was targeting only cash to unearth black money, Jaitley said it was necessary to squeeze cash to prevent generation of more black money. “You have to squeeze cash because black money generates more black money. Not whatever is in assets is a matter of assessment by the income tax authorities. But whatever is lying in hard cash so that it does not generate anything for the future, has to be squeezed out,” he added.
Jaitley also dismissed the criticism that banks have written off loans belonging to large industrial houses. “That is completely a false statement. These were loans given during the Congress government. Obviously there is no write off, only the column changes. Some of performing assets become non-performing. But you still keep chasing the loan for recovery. “Write off in the banking parlance, does not mean loan waiver. It just means, that a performing asset has become a non-performing asset. And therefore the opposition must understand the banking terminology before making an irresponsible statement,” he added.