New Delhi, April 9, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday urged the people to support the government’s mission to make India a cashless society.
“I urge all citizens to extend their unstinted support to the mission of a less cash India. All efforts of the government will achieve their end only if people were to adopt them proactively,” the President said.
Mukherjee was speaking on the occasion of the 100th mega draw of lots for Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
NewsGrambrings to you latest new stories in India.
“India has a long way to go to become a cashless society. Presently, we remain primarily a cash-based economy with about 95 percent of the personal consumption and 86 percent of all transactions being in cash,” President Mukherjee said.
Appreciating the government initiatives, he said: “It is necessary to reduce cash in circulation and impart greater urgency to promoting secure digital payment methods to ensure greater transparency.”
Calling the Aadhaar card a watershed event in the development story of India, President Mukherjee said: “Aadhaar enabled payment system has made digital payments possible for even those section of the population who may not have mobile phones.”
“Launch of BHIM has demystified the digital payments and brought it within the grasp of every citizen,” he said while discussing the new modes of digital payments which are being developed for making payments easier.
Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.
He complimented the government for the initiatives, for promoting the culture of digital payment in the country.
The government launched the Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants on December 25, 2016, in order to promote and encourage digital transactions. These schemes are being implemented by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).
The Lucky Grahak Yojana rewards Rs 1,000 daily to 15,000 customers undertaking digital transactions. Weekly prizes up to Rs 1 lakh for consumers and Rs 50,000 for merchants are given. As on March 30, 2017, 13.5 lakh consumers and 79,519 merchants have received prizes under these schemes. (IANS)
Last week, the political climate was charged with accusations that the government had actually begun encouraging the promotion of black money. Prima facie, the charges seemed to have some merit in them. Swiss bank deposits from India had swelled by 50%, one of the largest increases in recent times. But the accusation was a bit uncharitable. For three specific reasons.
First, even though the percentages seem high, the total amounts involved in Indian deposits with Swiss banks are not. At CHF 1.02 billion – even after accounting for the 50% jump – the amount is significantly lower than the CHF 6.46 billion in 2006 when the UPA was in power. In fact, Indian deposits with Swiss banks had been declining for the past three years – right from 2014 when Prime Minister Modi formed his government. It was only last year that the trend was broken and Swiss deposits began climbing again.
The second reason was that Indian deposits with Swiss banks account for just 0.07% of global deposits with Swiss Banks. That is one of the lowest levels ever during the last decade, overshadowed by an even lower share of 0.05% in 2017. At such percentages, India’s deposits with Swiss Banks are not much to rant and rail about.
There is a third reason why people who are tracking black money should not be looking at Swiss Banks. True, they were the best shelter for clandestine money in the past. But Switzerland has entered into several bilateral treaties for making disclosures about bank deposits to requesting states. That includes a treaty with India to provide real-time information with regard to Indians from January 2019. Obviously, any Indian who wants to stash away black money will not do so with Swiss Banks, because he would stand exposed.
There could, thus, be one credible explanation for the quantum of deposits in Swiss Banks going up. It could be found in the government’s decision to ram through amendments to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCRA) in March this year.
which seeks to exempt political parties from disclosing their source of funds from overseas. The courts had earlier demanded that political parties make these disclosures and the government thought it wiser to try and change the law instead. This move is now being challenged before the Supreme Court as being unconstitutional by public spirited persons like EAS Sarma. The decision of the court is still awaited. The amendment to the FCRA technically permits politically connected parties to put their money back with Swiss Banks where it is safer than in tax havens with not-so-unblemished a banking record. If this explanation is correct, one could say that the government, in collusion with all other political parties (all have kept quiet about these amendments), are responsible for the spurt in Swiss deposits.
As mentioned in these columns earlier, if people want to look for black money, they should first demand a full fledged investigation into the agriculture income disclosures before the tax authorities during 2011 and 2012. What makes those disclosures horrifying is (a) they were larger than ever before; (b) the cumulative value of disclosures during the two years was a mind-boggling Rs 874 lakh crore (Rs 874 trillion); (c) the cumulative value of disclosures was eight times India’s GVA for 2013, and almost 100 times the total tax collected in that year.
It can be found in the decision of the enforcement authorities of not auctioning off properties they have seized in the past – irrespective of whether they relate to the NSEL Scam or the politicians who are being investigated for corruption (on extremely narrow charges). Attachment of properties makes for big news, full of sound and fury. But the refusal to auction them off points to collusion.
It can be found in the files of scores of senior officials who were suspended, when fraud was discovered, and then reinstated when public memory died. It can also be found in the files that routinely get burnt in fires that take place at government offices – possibly aimed at making evidence disappear – especially when it comes to corrupt deals and land development scams.
But these are things politicians do not like to talk about. Many of them are collusive partners in the generation of black money. Their silence in permitting the amendments to the FCRA is ample proof of their willingness to allow a cover-up. The rantings and ravings against Swiss Banks are, therefore, of no consequence. (IANS)