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PM Modi Never Said Demonetisation Was About Black Money, Claims Union Minister

Shukla’s bizarre statement comes just a day after RBI data showed that 99.3% of demonetised notes were returned to banks, sparking a political war-of-words over the purpose of the move.

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Updated:August 30, 2018, 10:32 PM IST
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PM Modi Never Said Demonetisation Was About Black Money, Claims Union Minister
File photo of minister of state for finance Shiv Pratap Shukla.
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New Delhi: Minister of state for finance Shiv Pratap Shukla on Thursday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi never said the purpose of demonetisation was to curb black money, contradicting Modi’s November 8, 2016, address to the nation on note ban.

Shukla’s bizarre statement comes just a day after Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed that 99.3% of demonetised notes were returned to banks, sparking a political war-of-words over the purpose of the move.

Emphasising that the Prime Minister had clearly mentioned that the move was aimed at improving the country’s economy, he told India Today TV, “Pradhan Mantri ji ne kabhi iss baat ko nahi kaha tha ki hum ye kale dhan ke nate kar rahe hain. Balki, saaf saaf kaha tha ki desh ki arthavyavastha ko sudharne ke liye kar rahe hain (sic).” He said the money kept in lockers came back to banks and in circulation, this solving the problem of black money.

Shukla’s remarks are in direct contravention to Modi’s stand on how demonetisation would help curb black money.

In his speech on the eve of the decision, Modi had said, “To break the grip of corruption and black money, we have decided that the five hundred rupee and thousand rupee currency notes presently in use will no longer be legal tender from midnight tonight, that is 8th November 2016.”

He had added that the step would “strengthen the hands of the common man in the fight against corruption, black money and fake currency”. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), too, had marked the decision’s anniversary as anti-black money day.

The debate over the efficacy of the move continued on Thursday, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi calling demonetisation a “huge scam” to help Modi's “crony capitalist friends”.

The statement evoked a sharp reaction from finance minister Arun Jaitley, who said Gandhi’s “little knowledge is dangerous”. Other BJP leaders too joined in the verbal duel, accusing Gandhi of being a "non-serious political player" who had nothing new to offer and was parroting the same charges.

(With PTI inputs)
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