Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that the government had complete clarity that demonetisation would act against the “shadow economy and black money”. In a Facebook note posted two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Jaitley made several points including that demonetising 86% of currency constituting 12.2% of GDP will “obviously have significant consequences”.

Jaitley also said that the demonetisation was done as expenditure towards development has been compromised in India because of “tax non-compliances”. “Tax evasion has been considered as neither unethical nor immoral. It was just a way of life. Several Governments have allowed this “normal” to continue even though this compromised with larger public interest.” According to Jaitley, Modi’s decision was made in order to create a “new normal”.

The finance minister said that demonetisation required a large amount of secrecy, and assured people that a “drop in economic activity” because of the move will only have a “transient impact” on the economy. “Black money does not change its colour merely because it is deposited in bank. On the contrary, it loses its anonymity and can now be identified with its owner,” he added. He said that demonetisation has also helped further arrangements with other countries, including Switzerland, on declaring Indians’ assets.

“The period of pain and inconveniences is getting over. Economic activity is being restored. The banks today admittedly have a lot more money available in order to lend for growth,” Jaitley said. While defending the move, he said that this will lead to a higher GDP in the long run, and that the Centre and states stand to gain from the money entering the system. Jaitley said demonetisation will “give an ample scope for higher taxation – both direct and indirect”.

The Union minister also took the opportunity to criticise Opposition parties, which derailed the Winter Session in Parliament after the high-value currency notes were scrapped. “Their exaggerated claims on the disruption of the economy have proved wrong… It sided with black money friendly status quo.” Jaitley also zeroed in on the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi. “The difference between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi was clear – the Prime Minister was thinking of the next generation while Rahul Gandhi was only looking at how to disrupt the next Session of Parliament.”

The Centre has been criticised heavily since the country suffered a massive cash crunch after demonetisation. Many rural areas continue to face a shortage of currency, two months after it was announced.