Narendra Modi on Saturday hinted at further action against holders of black money, and said that there was no guarantee the government would not introduce any measures to curb corruption after December 31. “Some people think that after December 30, this all will end. I want to declare this once again that after the end of this scheme, there is no guarantee that something else will not be introduced to get rid of such people,” he said.
His remarks were the first made after he announced the overnight demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8. December end is the deadline to deposit any unaccounted money in old currency banks.
Modi, who was addressing non-resident Indians in Japan, compared the demonetisation move to Japan’s handling of the Fukushima earthquake, and said it was done in “national interest”. He praised the Indian public for cooperating with the sudden move and facing its initial disadvantages. “I salute my countrymen. People stood in line for four hours, six hours but accepted the decision in national interest the way people of Japan tackled the aftermath of the 2011 disaster.” He added that if needed, officials would go back to records from the time of Independence. “We will deploy as many people as required for this. Honest people will not face any problem. No one will be spared.”
The prime minister added that he had thought “long and hard” before the decision was made and about its likely impact and difficulties. “It was also important to keep it a secret. It had to be done suddenly,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is facing flak from several Opposition parties for the move, while some have said the Centre warned their aides of it before the announcement, so that they could deposit their unaccounted money. The Income Tax Department has asked banks to keep them informed of deposits of Rs 2.5 lakh and above, and has said previously unaccounted money will be taxed up to 200%.