New Delhi [India], Dec.31 : Addressing the nation on New Year's Eve on the impact of demonetisation and the roadmap ahead for the economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India has gone through a massive cleansing process and purification drive (Shuddhi Yatra).
In a 43-minute-long address to the nation, he said the citizens of the country were desperate to break free of corruption, but had never been given a chance to do so earlier, and had in fact gotten used to the idea of offering extra money to get their jobs done.
Prime Minister Modi said India has set a new example for the world through this 50-day-long demonetisation exercise, adding that their commitment and discipline to tackle the cash crunch would be a living example for generations to come.
"This is the first instance in India's history when the government and the people have fought shoulder to shoulder.
I got thousands of letters from the people who shared their pain, but they reaffirmed their resolve to stick with the process to root out corruption and black money," he said.
He further stated that "125 crore Indians have proved that they are willing to wait in line at banks, but do not wish to be even one step behind in the drive against corruption." He said that what would me most surprising to a majority of the citizens would be that, "Just 24 lakh Indians had admitted to having an income of more than Rs.10 lakhs,", which was indicative of the very high level of tax evasion being perpetrated by those not abiding by the law.
Expressing confidence that the New Year would see lesser queues outside banks and things returning to normal, Prime Minister Modi said, "Banks have never before seen this sort of influx of cash", and he would like to see personnel of these institutions focusing on helping the middle class and the poor.
He said that the notes ban has seriously impacted black money and terror-financing. PM Modi had last addressed the nation on November 8, when he suddenly abolished 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in a decision aimed at combating corruption and black or undeclared money.
The Prime Minister's move took out 86 per cent of the money in circulation and he had requested people to allow him 50 days to ease the cash crunch that followed, promising that the "short term pain" would be followed by long-term gain." A deadline to exchange old notes at banks ended yesterday (Friday, December 30.) As part of the demonetisation drive, how much money can be withdrawn from ATMs and banks will remain controlled for now.
Starting tomorrow (January1), the daily limit on ATM withdrawals will go up to Rs. 4,500 rupees from Rs. 2,500, but the weekly cap on withdrawals from bank accounts stays capped at Rs. 24,000 rupees. The Reserve Bank of India has not indicated when the limits will be relaxed or removed. The opposition united in attacking him for failing to anticipate how hard the notes ban would affect people, particularly in rural India where banks are tough to access.
While cash shortages have eased somewhat, bankers and analysts said the situation is far from normal and could last at least another six months.
They said the move could hit economic growth and lead to job losses and a drop in demand for goods. The government has refuted these predictions..