PATNA:Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is still bullish on demonetisation as a winning strategy against black money, despite a central bank report saying that 99 per cent of all the cash voided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last November is back in banks.
“Ultimately demonetisation will hit and hurt all those have black money,” said Nitish Kumar resolutely, when asked today whether he regrets his quick support last year to the notes ban in view of the recent Reserve Bank of India report.
Critics have attacked PM Modi alleging that the notes ban failed in its stated aim of unearthing black or untaxed money and that the sudden cash clampdown cost the economy more than it gained.
Numbers, Nitish Kumar said were in the public domain, but “my understanding is that it has had a positive impact,” expressing faith that even with the cash back in banks, black money will be detected.
Nitish Kumar was the first Chief Minister last year to praise PM Modi for his ban on high value notes. Mr Kumar was then a key member of the opposition and his position on the notes ban had isolated him. He had to convince even his reluctant party, the Janata Dal United, on board. It was the first in a series of steps that would signal his return to the BJP-led national alliance NDA, a process that was formally completed last month.
Before that, Nitish Kumar dissolved what was billed as his “Grand Alliance” with Lalu Yadav and the Congress in Bihar and set up a government in the state in partnership with the BJP. The Chief Minister said he was compelled to dump Lalu Yadav because of a series of corruption cases against the veteran Bihar politician and his family.
Nitish Kumar referenced those today when he said, “I began a drive in Bihar against benami properties and you can see the results….when there is a nationwide drive against benami properties then you will acknowledge the positive impact of demonetisation.”