- Published: 01 December 2016
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said people have wholeheartedly accepted the demonetisation decision and understood the "path of truth" in national interest despite initial difficulties being faced by them and efforts being made to misguide them.
"Our dream is that there should be cashless society. This is correct that 100% cashless society is never possible. But we can make a start with less-cash society - then cashless society will not be a far-off destination," Modi said in his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' address, appealing to youth to teach 10 families daily on how they could do cashless transactions through mobile apps, mobile banking and debit/credit cards.
In an apparent reference to number of deaths being reported across the country, Modi said sometimes "disturbing incidents" have come to light. "I knew that people would face new kind of difficulties in their normal lives. The decision is so big that it would take 50 days for us to emerge out of its impact and move towards normalcy. The whole world is looking at the decision minutely and economists are analysing it. There may be a question mark in the world's mind but India has faith and confidence in its citizens that we will emerge glowing like gold from the fire," the PM said in his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' radio broadcast.
Some economists have said the demonetisation step would impact growth while former PM Manmohan Singh said it would impact the GDP by at least 2%.
Modi said that despite "stress of various kinds", 1.3 lakh bank branches, lakhs of bank employees, 1.5 lakh post offices and one lakh banking correspondents were putting in long hours on the job considering it a "Yagna of Service to the country." He said this left no doubt in his mind that India will emerge successful from the exercise. "For 70 years, the diseases we are inflicted with -- the road to get ourselves rid of those diseases cannot be easy," the PM said in his address. He warned that some rich people were trying to influence the poor or offering them gains and getting them to out their black money in the latter's accounts.
"This is very sad. I want to tell such people - to reform yourself, or not - that is your wish. The law will handle you. But please do not play with the lives of the poor - because in probes later, my poor countrymen will get into trouble. We are also bringing in a very strong benami property law," the PM said. This comment comes in light of high deposits being reported in PM Jan Dhan Yojna accounts held by the poor. Modi also referred to nearly Rs 13000 Cr being deposited with 47 municipal corporations in the last one week against only Rs 3500 Cr collected till last year by way of taxes for water and electricity. "The rich ran to deposit their old notes in municipal taxes. This money will be used for bringing water and sanitation facilities in poor colonies," the PM said.
The PM also said that as per figures with him till November 20, sowing of various crops by farmers had increased this year compared to last year as farmers had found ways around the demonetisation step. Congratulating the farmers, Modi said government had also taken steps like to help farmers and villages. He said small shopkeepers had also adopted technology, mobile apps and mobile banking to serve their customers. "I would urge small shopkeepers to enter the digital world, download mobile apps of banks, get Point of Sale (PoS) machines - they should learn how business can be done without cash. This rather than hurting your business will make it grow. This way is also safe and secure," the PM said. Modi also urged labourers to open bank accounts so that wages are credited directly to them, minimum wages rule is followed and that they do not have to get cuts to anyone, thereby ending their exploitation. "You can buy simple phones which can also work like e-wallets. You do not need a smart phone. With e-wallet, you can make payments to small shops in your locality," the PM said. He urged the youth who are well-conversent with cashless banking to teach the samd to their parents/relatives.
"Every bank has online banking - every bank has a mobile app. There has been 300% increase in usage of Rupay cards now which were given with Jan Dhan Yojana accounts. Through UPI, transferring money is as easy as sending WhatsApp. Even an illiterate person can send a WhatsApp message. A dhobi, sabzi vendor, milk vendor, newspaper vendor - all can use mobile apps and banking apps like UPI on simple feature phones for cash transfer. We have finished all online surcharges too," the PM said. He admitted that there is still one full generation which is unaware of all this. "I appeal to the youth to teach 10 families about the same daily. If you teach a poor person how to use RuPay card, he will bless you. If all youth get on the job, in one month we can make a modern India emerge. So don't give me just support - but help me make a a cashless India," the Prime Minister said.