Arun Shourie lambasts demonetisation, says it is not a strike on black money

He opined that he did not think the cash clean-up would get to the heart of the black or untaxed money problem.

Former Union Minister Arun Shourie on Thursday lambasted the government’s decision to ban 500 and 1000 rupee notes being a radical measure, stating that jumping into well or committing suicide is also radical.

“Jumping in the well is also very radical, committing suicide is also radical…if you want to make a beginning, make a beginning on reforming the tax administration,” responds Shourie, when asked  if he thought it was a bold and radical move by PM Modi.

The former BJP leader, in an interview with NDTV, said the government had not anticipated the distress that would be caused by doing “away with 85% of Indian currency.”

The former minister opined that he did not think the cash clean-up would get to the heart of the black or untaxed money problem. “People who hold this black money or black assets don’t hold it in cash…they are not going to put their money under the mattress…they are holding it abroad, and there also they are not dollars, in gunnybags. It is property, jewelry, maybe other assets which we don’t know about, maybe stock markets,” he said.

He said strict and fair enforcement in needed to curb the black money. “Then you will be acting against the bribe taker and bribe giver. But if you let disproportionate assets cases fall through because you don’t present evidence, you are doing nothing on the Vyapam scam, you are doing nothing on the Sarada scam, the Narada scam, you let Hasan Ali go, nothing happened, Moin Qureshi goes away, Vijay Mallya is saying bye bye, Lalit Modi keeps sitting outside, then what will the officer think?” Shourie stated.

“This is a strike not on black money but on legal tender of India, its currency. This is a strike on cash transactions,” he told the news channel.

“Small and medium enterprises, the transport sector, the entire agricultural sector…I can’t reach six lakh villages. They did not think about this? It is about being carried away by a big idea, getting into a self-image that I have to do some surgical strike,” Shourie said. It is  therefore every week you see them saying – its been a week, a month, I have to do something, he added.