Can't recollect any significant step Congress took to curb black money: Jaitley

ANI | Updated: Oct 25, 2017 21:40 IST

New Delhi [India] Oct 25 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said he couldn't recollect any significant step that the Congress had taken to curb black money during its tenure.

Addressing a press conference here, Jaitley said, "The Congress had adequate opportunity to be in power. And, I can't recollect a single significant step that they ever took against black money. They had reconciled to India living with a shadow economy. And, it is therefore quite understandable that this would never be on the political agenda of the Congress party leadership. I can quite understand their discomfort."

The Congress and other opposition parties have announced to observe November 8 as 'black day' to oppose demonetisation, which the government terms as its major step towards eradicating black money from the country.

The Union Finance Minister also said that the Congress and other Opposition parties have not understood the main object of the demonetisation.

"The Congress and others who are making comments on this have not understood the whole object behind the demonentisation purpose. First, cash is unidentified bearer money which is circulating in the system. Its ownership is not known; it has an anonymous owner- anyone can own cash. So, when cash gets deposited in the banks, it gets into the lawful system. So, for entry into the lawful system, you are liable to pay tax. Those who have never fought black money in their life were too happy with the laundering of the cash in the system, but consider the entry of cash into the formal economy after tax payment as laundering. This displays their inadequate understanding," Jaitley said.

He also said that confiscation of the money was never the object to the demonetisation.

"Mere entry of the cash into the system doesn't legitimise it. Eighteen lakh people who have deposited monies because the deposit brings an end to the anonymity have been found as having deposited money disproportionate to their incomes. So, they are now held accountable to pay tax. Confiscation of the money was never the object to the demonetisation. Squeezing the quantum of cash, increasing the tax base, increasing digitization, squeezing the resources of the terrorists, detecting the counterfeit currency were the objectives of demonetisation," Jaitley said.

Targeting the opposition parties, Jaitley said that it is obvious that those parties which were in power couldn't take action against black money as squeezing black money is not possible through baby steps.

"If the November 8 debate is to make country pro excessive cash economy or to polarize ideologically anti-black money campaign then it is sure that the BJP will take this debate forward," Jaitley asserted.

To thwart the Opposition's anti- demonetisation plans, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is starting anti-black money awareness campaign till November 8 in the country.

Earlier, Jaitley said, "From today to November 8, the BJP will develop public opinion in support of the government's anti-black money steps."

The BJP has also announced to observe November 8 as anti-black money day across the country. But, before that the idea of launching pro- demonetisation campaign is to puncture the Opposition's November 8 plans.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told the media here, "Possibly, this is the first time that a decision announced by the Prime Minister had to be changed 135 times. It just shows how ill-conceived it was."

Azad was speaking in the presence of Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav and Trinamool Congress leader Derek O. Brien, besides others.

He claimed that 18 opposition parties would be protesting in their own respective ways in all states.

O'Brien described demonetisation as a 'big scam' and added that TMC leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was the first leader to point this out.

On Monday, the opposition formed a coordination committee and met for the first time in parliament.

The meeting was attended by Azad, O Brien, Yadav, Communist Party of India (CPI) Member of Parliament D. Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Member of Parliament Kanimozhi and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Member of Parliament Satish Mishra. (ANI)