War on corruption: Narendra Modi vows to fix benami properties next

Modi says those involved in this murky enterprise of perfidy and corruption' had to be defeated.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed on Sunday that the government would soon put in place a strong law to effectively deal with benami properties, saying the move would bolster his “extraordinary war” on corruption and black money.

“A benami property law came into being in 1988, but its rules were never framed. It remained dormant for years. We have retrieved it and turned it into an incisive law. We will soon make it operational,” he said.

Benami properties are those held in the name of other people and not those who actually finance them. “I assure you that this is not the end. This is just the beginning in our fight against corruption. We have to win this war. There is no question of stopping or going back in this fight,” he said.

In his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat, the PM also unveiled two reward schemes — Lucky Grahak Yojana for customers and Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana for traders — to push cashless transactions.

He said 1,500 people would get daily rewards of Rs 1,000 each. Lakhs of rupees would be up for grabs during weekly draws. A bumper draw on April 14 will have rewards in crores. This will be for those who go for cashless transactions and make a purchase worth more than Rs 50 but less than Rs 3,000 to keep special focus on the poor and the lower middle-class segments.

PM defends frequent changes
Mr Modi’s announcement to a stunned nation on November 8 that he would scrap 86 per cent of the cash in circulation immediately led to a crippling cash crunch. He had then promised to restore normalcy by the end of the year, but long queues have stayed outside low-on-cash banks and ATM kiosks.

Mr Modi defended frequent changes in currency rules after the Centre recalled high-value bills, and said this was done to reduce people’s problems and defeat corrupt.

He said that those involved in “this murky enterprise of perfidy and corruption” had to be defeated as they were devising “newer wily ways and means” to thwart the government’s efforts every day.

“To counter these new offensives, we too have to devise appropriate new responses and antidotes. When the opponents keep trying out new tactics, we have to counteract decisively,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he was happy that awareness towards online payments was increasing, claiming there had been a 200 per cent to 300 per cent jump in cashless transactions in recent days.

He said that businessmen who adopt digital transactions and develop online payment processes in their trade activities would also get income tax rebate.
The Opposition has questioned the government’s move to promote digital transactions, calling it a cover-up for “no real black money windfall” for the economy weeks after Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were withdrawn from circulation.

The Prime Minister said he wanted a good discussion on his demonetisation campaign and plans to clean up political funding, but Parliament remained disrupted which drew the President’s displeasure and people ire.

He said that many new influential people were being taken into custody, currency notes seized and raids carried out every day, and sought more public support in exposing the corrupt.

“The secret is that my sources of such information are people themselves. People are taking risks to expose such elements. Information being received from common citizens is many times higher than that being obtained through government machinery,” he said. He clarified that rumours that talk about members of some political parties enjoying concessions and exemptions “are wrong and all are equal before law”.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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