New Delhi, November 29: Whether or not electoral politics come into play, the Narendra Modi government has decided to go all out against the war on black money. Just in the past 24 hours the government has launched three key initiatives that are set to tighten the noose around the black money in the country.
After shocking the country by announcing the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in an address to the nation on November 8th, the Modi government has since kept launching a slew of measures to make restrictions on counterfeit currency and black money more stringent. Further shocking the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday tabled the Income Tax Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha.
The bill aims to target the method of taxation on unaccounted wealth. According to the details that have emerged, the bill if passed, will ensure that a person with unaccounted deposits will have to pay 50 per cent of the amount including tax, penalty and Pradhan Mantri Gareebi Kalyan cess. Further, if the unaccounted wealth is undisclosed, the net rate payable to the government would mount up to 85 per cent.
However, the government also realises that a large amount of the unaccounted money emerges from political circles that the government itself is a part of. In order to set an example for all the other parties in the country, the ruling BJP today decided to bring out further transparency in the finances of its own key members.
Taking the measure by its horns, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked BJP MPs and MLAs to submit their bank account statements of transactions between November 8 and December 31 to party chief Amit Shah by January 1, 2017. The revelations will make public the financial doings of key BJP members post demonetisation.
The move by the Prime Minister is aimed at placating opposition parties that have constantly alleged that the BJP had tipped off some of its own leaders ahead of the demonetisation. Further, responding to the charge that the IT amendmentment Bill that has been tabled will enable the conversion of annacounted or “black” money into “white” money, Narendra Modi said, “The amendment is not for turning black money into white but to spend the money looted from the poor on their welfare.”
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today decided to afford some relief to the common man while rich fraudsters are being targeted. Observing that people are finding it difficult to deposit money into their banks owing to the limits imposed on the amounts of withdrawal, the RBI today moved quickly to extend the withdrawal limit for people who deposit money in notes that are currently legal tender.
In order, to weed out black money deposits, the RBI has been careful to maintain the Rs 24,000 cap on withrawal of deposits made in old currency. In a statement today, the RBI said, “”It has been decided, on careful consideration, to allow withdrawals of deposits made in current legal tender notes on or after November 29, 2016 beyond the current limits; preferably, available higher denominations bank notes of ` 2000 and ` 500 are to be issued for such withdrawals.”
For now, it seems as though the government is moving at breakneck speed to minimise the escape routes afforded to violators. The government, however, must take maximum precaution to ensure that the innocent are not fired at, as the war on black money wages on.