Transparency in note-ban would have been instrument of fraud: Jaitley

Washington
11 Oct 2017

Union 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, who is on a week-long visit to the US to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, also said that the series of reforms like demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has put the 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 the prestigious Columbia University in New York.
He said that 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 prime minister and the team -- obviously the RBI was involved, the finance minister was involved ? kept it a closely guarded secret," he said.
"Otherwise in a process where a decision is taken, alternate currency is printed, thousands of people involved in the printing do not know why they are doing it, the currency is collected, tabulated and sent to the currency chest and one has to be ready with the alternate currency the moment it is demonetised and still we were able to keep it a closely guarded secret," he said. (PTI)