New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday hit back at Congress after the latter attacked the government over RBI’s report on demonetisation saying it (the report) proved that it was a “disaster of epic proportions“. Listing the “positive impact” of note ban, the Finance Minister said that the invalidation of the non-deposited currency was not the only object of demonetisation. The objective was to move the country from a tax non-compliant society to a compliant society. Also Read - EC Calls All-Party Meeting In Kolkata As COVID Cases Surge In Bengal, Discussion Over Poll Campaigns Likely

“A widely stated comment has been that just because most of the currency came back into the Banks, the object of Demonetisation has not succeeded. Was the invalidation of the Non-deposited currency the only object of demonetisation? Certainly Not. The larger purpose of demonetisation was to move INDIA from a Tax Non-compliant society to a compliant society, formalisation of the Economy and a clear blow to the black money,” Arun Jaitley said. Also Read - Fact Check: Heritage Sites Including Taj Mahal to be Given on Lease by Govt? Here's The Truth Behind Viral Claim

He further said, “Cash once deposited removes the anonymity of its owner. Accordingly, post demonetisation about 1.8 million depositors have been identified for enquiry. Many of them are being fastened with Tax and Penalties. Mere deposit in a bank does not lead to a presumption that it is Tax paid Money.” Also Read - Bengal, Assam Round 2 Polling Today: All Eyes On Mamata Banerjee Vs Suvendu Adhikari In Nandigram

He said that there has been a phenomenal increase in the number of IT returns filed in March 2014 and 2018. In March 2014, the number of IT returns was 3.8 crore, in 2017-18, this figure has grown to 6.86 crore, Jaitley said. “This phenomenal increase is reflective of the impact of demonetisation along with evidence of growing economy,” he said.

“In the last two years, when the impact of demonetisation and other steps is analysed, the Income Tax returns have increased by 19% and 25%. The number of New Returns filed post demonetisation increased in the past two years by 85.51 Lakhs and 1.07 crores,” he said, adding, “For 2018-19, advance Tax in the first quarter has increased for personal Income Tax Assesses by 44.1% and in the Corporate Tax category by 17.4%.”

“The GST was implemented from 1st July 2017 i.e. Post demonetisation. In the very first year, the number of registered assesses has increased by 72.5%. The original 66.17 Lakh assesses has increased to 114.17 Lakhs. This is a glimpse of formalisation,” he added.