Demonetisation to purge system of prevalent ills: Jaitley

Lucknow, (IANS) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday defended the November 8 demonetisation, saying the Centre took the decision with a larger objective of cleansing the system of excessive cash.

The scrapping of the high-value currency notes was taken with the larger objective of ridding the system of excessive cash, which is at the root of every illegality and crime, be it organised crime, terror funding or Naxalism, the Minister told IANS.

He was responding as to how he saw the demonetisation issue playing out in the seven-phase Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

Jaitley said that the BJP-led government at the Centre is working in the national interest and not on political considerations.

He said the central government’s focus on infrastructure could be gauged by the fact that allocation for the sector was Rs 3.96 lakh crore, much more than what the earllier Congress-led government spent.

“In the long term, the Goods and Services Tax, demonstration and other fiscal discipline exercises will help the country,” said the senior BJP leader, who is visiting the state for campaigning.

Trashing Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s charge that the Narendra Modi government had waived loans totalling Rs 1.10 lakh crore of major companies, the minister accused him of lying blatantly and repeatedly.

“I have clarified in Parliament that since May 26, 2014, when the NDA came to power, no loan waiver has been granted vis-a-vis non-productive assets of banks,” he said. After 2007, interest against these outstanding loans has been piling up, he added.

“Either the Congress Vice President is ill-informed on facts or he is lying on this issue,” Jaitley said.

The minister also rejected Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s accusation of stepmotherly treatment to the state by the Centre and non-allocation of funds.

“Such charges are absurd. In our federal system, distribution of funds between states and Centre are well defined. If still accusations are made by the state government, it is only a confession of failure,” he said.

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