WASHINGTON: Finance minister Arun Jaitley has defended the government’s decision to maintain secrecy over demonetisation, saying transparency in this case would have been the “greatest instrument of fraud”.
Jaitley, on a week-long visit to the US to attend annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, said the series of reforms like demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) has put Indian economy on a “far more stronger track”. “These are institutional reforms.
These are structural changes. And these structural changes, I think have put the Indian economy on a far more sound track so that we can look forward for a much cleaner much bigger India economy in the days and years to come,” Jaitley said, addressing the students of Columbia University in New York.
He said announcing the demonetisation initiative in advance could have resulted in people buying gold, diamond and land and going through various kinds of transactions with the cash they had.
“Transparency is a very nice word. But transparency in this case (of demonetisation) would have been the greatest instrument of fraud,” Jaitley said.
The finance minister was responding to a question on why Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept the demonetisation plan a closely guarded secret with only a handful of top officials privy to the move.
“Secrecy was the essence of that decision making (process). I think, one of the greatest success of demonetisation was that the PM and the team – obviously the RBI was involved, the finance minister was involved – kept it a closely guarded secret,” he said.
“I do believe that the Supreme Court judgement on the privacy matter in accordance with the current timing is a correct judgement.
It lays down the correct exceptions which protects Aadhar,” Jaitley told students of Columbia University . “Article 21 reads that no person can be deprived of his right to life and liberty without procedures established by the law. That procedure has to be fair and just,” he added.