Panaji/Belagavi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sought 50 days to tide over the nationwide cash crisis and announced that more anti-graft measures were on the anvil.
At the same time, he launched a scathing attack on detractors of the demonetisation move, especially the Congress, saying those involved in mega scams were now standing in queues to exchange Rs 4,000.
PM Modi, addressing a function at Panaji, urged people to bear with him till December 30, saying, "I will give you the India you desired." He stressed the need to go cashless and adopt plastic money.
He said he was ready to face the consequences of his moves as certain forces are "up against me" as their 70 years of loot was now in trouble as a result of demonetisation.
PM becomes emotional
"I know that (some) forces are up against me, they may not let me live, they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble, but I am prepared," PM Modi said in the speech which saw him getting emotional a few times.
"This government does not want to bother honest people but doesn't want to spare the dishonest. Bear with me for 50 days. Has India been looted or not? I am not going to stop at this. I will expose the history of corruption of 70 years since Independence," he maintained.
"This (demonetisation) is not an end. I have more projects in mind to make India corruption-free. We will take action against 'benami' property. This is major step to eradicate corruption and black money. If any money that was looted in India and has left Indian shores, it is our duty to find out about it," he said in his speeches, both at Panaji in Goa and Belagavi in Karnataka.
"I am not born to occupy the high chair. I have left my village, my family for the sake of the country," PM Modi said.
Observing that the entire population, barring a few lakh of corrupt people, were working to make this move successful, he said on the night of November eight when he had announced the demonetisation plan, "crores of people slept peacefully, but a few lakh (corrupt) were going to buy sleeping pills as they had lost their sleep."
मैं कुर्सी के लिए पैदा नहीं हुआ हूं। मैंने घर, परिवार, सब कुछ देश के लिए छोड़ा है। pic.twitter.com/OXImxkDizP
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 13, 2016
PM slams Congress-led UPA govt
Hitting out at the erstwhile UPA government for not fighting corruption, PM Modi further said "when Congress stopped 25 paise, did we say anything? You could dare to stop only 25 paise, that's what your power was limited to. But you did not make higher denomination currency notes illegal. We did it. People have chosen a government and they expect so much from it," as per PTI.
"I am doing what I was asked to do by the people of this country. This had become clear from the very first meeting of my Cabinet when I formed the SIT (on black money). We never kept the people in dark," he pointed out.
"Soon after assuming power, a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team was formed to investigate the black money parked outside the country. Previous governments neglected this; Did I hide anything? We took a key step to help the honest citizens defeat the menace of graft. We collected Rs 67,000 crore under amnesty scheme. But in the last two years, through raids, surveys and declarations, the government has collected Rs 1,25,000 crore in its exchequer. I kept on administering small doses of medicine to improve the economic situation of the country since I came to power," PM Modi said, referring to the Jan Dhan scheme aimed at financial inclusion.
Revealing the efforts behind the demonetisation move, the Prime Minister said it was "a secret operation I started 10 months back and had formed a small team. The secret operation was of course not the one like (Defence Minister Manohar) Parrikar had launched (surgical strike in PoK). We had to print new currency notes and take other steps in secret", otherwise the corrupt would have found other ways to deal with the situation.
RBI asks people not to hoard cash
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 13, 2016
Meanwhile, with a bank closure in some parts of the country due on Monday, the Indian Banks Association said Rs 30,000 crore of cash, including lower denomination notes, were disbursed in the last three days.
It said ATMs were being recalibrated to handle the new series of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denomination notes.
On the other hand, the RBI urged people not to withdraw money and hoard.
"The Reserve Bank assures the public that enough cash in small denominations is available at the Reserve Bank and other banks," RBI said, as per IANS.
"The Reserve Bank urges that public need not be anxious; need not come over to banks repeatedly to draw and hoard; Cash is available when they need it," the central bank said in a statement.
Centre hikes money withdrawal limits
In an important development, the government today announced an increase in withdrawal limits at banks and ATMs.
The Centre also urged the states to "facilitate the opening of new bank accounts" and last-mile distribution of small denomination notes as it announced that the new Rs 500 note had been issued.
The daily withdrawal from ATMs has now been hiked to Rs 2,500 from Rs 2,000 and from bank counters to Rs 4,500 from Rs 4,000, the Finance Ministry said.
The limit of Rs 10,000 per day withdrawal has been removed, the ministry said in a statement.
The upper limit for weekly withdrawals from bank accounts has been raised to Rs 24,000 from Rs 20,000.
(With Agency inputs)