Modi gov’t, opposition parties lock horns as India marks one year of cash ban


NEW DELHI, Nov. 8 – India on Wednesday completed one year of demonetization, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government observing it as “Anti-Black Money Day” and opposition parties marking it a “Black Day” in protest against the move.

In a sudden televised address on Nov. 8 last year, Modi announced scrapping of currency notes of 500 and 1,000 rupees (7 U.S. dollars and 15 U.S. dollars respectively), saying that it would wipe out black money from the society, curb corruption and prevent the circulation of counterfeit notes among terrorists.

One year on, the Indian government said the measure succeeded in curtailing the shadow economy that ran on black money and prevented the use of illicit and counterfeit cash to fund illegal activity and terrorism.

The prime minister was the first to take to Twitter to hail the “success” of demonetization and thank the people for supporting the move.

“I bow to the people of India for steadfastly supporting the several measures taken by the government to eradicate corruption and black money,” he tweeted Wednesday morning. Modi also shared a short film on “benefits of demonetization” on the social media.

Depicting cash ban as one of the bravest steps taken by the prime minister, the video says the country was suffering from the menace of corruption and black money before 2014 and the decision of demonetization was a step to clean up the Indian economy.The prime minister also said that demonetization broke the backbone of terrorism and left-wing Naxalism in this country and substantially brought down stone pelting activity in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

In fact, a recent research has revealed that stone pelting incidents in Kashmir have reduced by nearly 75 percent and incidents of left-wing extremism have also decreased by more than 20 percent as compared to last year.

Following in the footsteps of Modi, several Indian ministers also took to Twitter to share their thoughts on “Anti-Black Money Day.” Indian Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani tweeted to thank people for “their trust and continued support” toward cash ban and also re-posted Modi’s video on “benefits of demonetization.” However, the Congress-led opposition parties locked horns with the government as they observed the “Black Day” by holding protests across India.

Nehru-Gandhi scion and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi hit out at Modi, saying that cash ban was a “thoughtless act” that affected livelihoods of millions of Indians.

“Demonetization is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians, whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act,” he tweeted. Another opposition leader and Chief Minister of the eastern state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, turned her Twitter display picture black to protest against the move on the first anniversary of the event.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of Congress party on Tuesday slammed Modi for the sudden unplanned decision to demonetize higher denomination currency notes, saying it affected the country’s economic growth.

Soon after that, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley termed demonetization as a watershed moment in the history of country’s economy and slammed the Congress party for not supporting the move aimed at curbing black money.

(Copyright Xinhua, retrieved from National News Agency)


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