Modi’s next target: Benami transactions

  • Bear with the temporary hardships for another 50 days: PM

A day after telling Indian Diaspora in Japan that more measures were on the anvil to eradicate the menace of black money in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a large gathering in Goa that his next target was benami transactions.

After laying the foundation stone for a Greenfield International Airport at Mopa, Goa, the Prime Minister told the people that the next step in his fight against corruption and black money was a crackdown on benami properties.

The Prime Minister said his government had passed a law, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, in the monsoon session of Parliament which enabled it to crack down on properties acquired in the name of others. Under the Act, which was notified in August, black money hoarders buying properties would face 7-year rigorous imprisonment and confiscation of benami properties. Jokingly, he said, bureaucrats too have benami flats in Goa.

This is the first time he spoke in India about the steps he proposed to take to root out one of the most visible economic evils after demonetizing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on Tuesday last. However, his hour-long speech was surcharged with emotion and patriotic feelings.

Referring to the problems people are facing after banning high denomination currency, the Prime Minister said, I feel the pain of the common man affected by demonetization; but bear with the temporary hardships for another 50 days. That is in contrast with what Finance Minister had said a day earlier that the crisis would be over in two-three weeks’ time.

Mocking at the scenario post-November 8, Modi said, many people in India slept peacefully on November 8, when the announcement was made, but “some are sleepless even now.” Justifying his decision, he said, “The people have chosen a government and they expect so much from it. In 2014, so many people voted to free the nation from corruption,” and added, “If you asked me to defeat the menace of black money, how can I not do it? If I commit any mistake, I am ready to face any punishment the country will give me. But I promise to deliver a corruption-free India.”

He described the demonetization operation as a secret one that had been in the works for 10 months by a small trusted group and promised to use the money that would come into the government’s coffers through this measure for welfare schemes such as houses for the poor, children’s education and cheaper medicines for the aged.

The Prime Minister also hinted at new initiatives to end conversion of black money into gold, in a veiled reference to IT raids on big jewelers in metropolitan cities who were said to have made a fortune by selling gold biscuits and ornaments accepting cash on the night of November 8 in violation of norms.

 

 

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