Why Indians gave Swiss banks Rs 7,000 crore? Only for Modiji
We must thank our PM — a true artist.
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Now Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the rare gift that keeps giving.
“Ye jo chor luteron ke paise videshi bankon me jama haina utne bi hum rupaiye le aaye na to bi Hindustan ke ek ek gareeb aadmi ko mufat me 15-20 lakh rupaiye yun hi mil jayga.” That thundering revelation was made in 2014, during the Lok Sabha election campaign, by Narendra Modi, then prime-ministerial candidate for the BJP, much to the amazement and satisfaction of the ordinary, taxpaying Indian.
“Yun hi”. Like that only.
'If black money stashed in foreign banks is brought back, every poor man will have Rs 15 lakh in his bank account.': BJP's PM candidate, in 2014. Photo: Screengrab
For the first time in decades, Indians saw a leader who had his ear to the ground — Modiji was promising India’s frugal, honest middleclass retribution against black money, their greatest enemy.
It was payback time.
Flash forward to 2018, Modiji has delivered and how.
Money parked by wealthy Indians in Swiss banks has jumped to Rs 7,000 crore, “reversing” — yes “reversing” — a three-year pattern in the wake of India’s blistering crackdown on “black money”. That just means Indian citizens have now enriched overseas banks with more of their funds.
“Today, nobody has the guts to save money outside the country. And it has been possible only because of the government's hard work,” his trusted minister Piyush Goyal has reminded us.
Given India still has the third highest number of billionaires in the world — 131 at last count — we are clearly making the greatest breakthrough in (attacking) money laundering in the world.
Who would have thought India’s richest would truly be shaking with fear, holding every rupee dear — stashing their monies in sophisticated vaults where no one can tax them?
This is but one stroke in the series that is painting our economy red. And the artist we must thank is Modiji.
It is to his credit that our economy, once punished with 10 years of the Congress government’s “policy paralysis”, has been blithely performing a break-dance with the choicest of moves like demonetisation and GST and full FDI.
If it had turned mute to reforms under a voiceless Manmohan Singh (accused of being MIA - Missing In Action), it hasn’t stopped moon-walking since the effortlessly eloquent Modi took over airwaves and airplanes with his Mann ki baat — policy after policy fired straight from the heart, if not the mind.
Why is Cong hesitant to bring back black money? Because they know who it belongs to...NDA will bring back every Paisa that is stashed abroad— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 30, 2014
Congress is giving nation to foreigners. Most parties opposed FDI but due to sword of CBI, some didn't vote & Cong won through back door!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 5, 2012
He struck gold on November 8, 2016, when he rendered — in one swift “surgical strike” — our Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes invalid.
Because we wanted a PM who puts his money where his mouth is — and Modiji made ordinary Indians do just that.
The PM even joked about it. "To make public policy cool is no mean task. Thank you guys for having me over... You asked me to address the gathering. But not sing. Else, the audience would be asking you for your money back — that too in 100-rupee notes," he told the (richest) fans of the band Coldplay at the Global Citizen Festival, held soon after demonetisation.
The Times They Are a-Changin', he promised us. They did.
We stood in “serpentine” queues, the days and the hours passing us by slowly — and every note deftly sank into the RBI’s safe coffers, our hard-earned cash was asking to be pulped so that our beloved nation could finally crush the albatross around its neck.
Many went gently into that good night — at least 106 lives were snuffed out due to heart failure, anxiety, shock and exhaustion.
An retired soldier breaking into tears after missing his spot in a queue in Gurgaon. Photo: Hindustan Times
The martyrs of demonetisation did not disappoint our great leader.
Those who could not stand in queues went to the extent of funding the poor’s bank accounts, political parties and even the Indian Railways with their wealth.
The survivors of demonetisation, too, did not disappoint our great leader.
And tax-compliant Indians felt vindicated when India’s central bank declared that 99 per cent of our scrapped notes came right back into the system. Yes, every note we had painstakingly traded for fresh pink and green ones had been accounted for.
We gave back Rs 14.48 trillion to the system.
Just when our economy was learning to appreciate this somersault, another masterstroke came in the form of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Most of us get lucky at 18 (per cent). Not just our restaurants, even the cheapest beer is rich after this shot in the arm. So, hold our beers — we do.
One year down, entrepreneurs are turning into labourers because babus are working harder to fulfil the GST dream. And for every business we run, we must file 36 returns every month. Yes, this glorious reform did come with an avalanche of forms. So, we are counting our jobs.
Only for Modiji.
To be fair, he did say “Na, khaunga, na khane doonga.”
For once, perhaps a politician who meant it.