PM defends note ban, says it was done at right time

Calls move an effort to clean up the economy

PM defends note ban, says it was done  at right time

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were demonetised at a time when the economy was in good health.

Modi strongly defended the move, saying that it was done to clean up the economy, and that it was done at a time when business was in a lull after reaching peaks during Deepavali.

“The surgeons generally prefer to do surgery when they are convinced that the patient is in good health and can undergo the procedure. We also chose a time to go for demonetisation when the economy was doing well,” the prime minister said, while replying to a debate in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address to Parliament.

Modi insisted that the decision was not taken in a hurry. “Modi does not take decisions in haste. To know that, you have to study Modi,” he told the Opposition MPs.

On Monday, the Congress, Trinamool Congress and other parties, including NDA ally the Shiv Sena, attacked the Centre over the deaths and inconveniences suffered by the people due to cash crunch post demonetisation. But the prime minister on Tuesday countered the criticism, stating that his government, unlike the erstwhile Congress-led UPA regime, has been focusing on combating the menace of corruption right from the day it came into office, beginning with constituting a Special Investigation Team on black money.

In his 90-minute speech, which was punctuated by protests by the Congress and other Opposition MPs, Modi insisted that demonetisation – like his ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign – was a move to clean up the economy.

The prime minister cited the example of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) to counter the Congress’s allegation that the government repeatedly changed rules for depositing old currency notes and withdrawing cash from banks and ATMs during the first few weeks after demonetisation.

Modi said that rules for MNREGS was changed 1,035 times and hence the Opposition parties should not complain about changes in deposit and withdrawal restrictions for 150 times.

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