NEW DELHI, Feb 7 - Answering criticism over demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted in Lok Sabha that the timing for the decision was perfect as the economy was doing well and hit out at Congress whose record he questioned with regard to various issues.
Replying to a debate on Motion of Thanks on the President�s Address which was adopted by the House later amid walkout by Congress, he replied point-by-point to the issues raised by the Opposition, including surgical strikes and allocations for MNREGA, agriculture sector and for Scheduled Castes. Opposition had moved 189 amendments to the Motion which were negated.
In his 90-minute speech, which was punctuated by protests by some Opposition members at certain points, Modi also raised pitch for simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and Assemblies, asking all parties to consider the proposal, rising above political considerations as �everybody will face some difficulty� if it is implemented.
On demonetisation over which he has been under sustained attack, the Prime Minister asserted that the timing of the decision announced on November 8 last year was perfect.
�Some people have said why was this (demonetisation) decision taken when the economy was doing well... It was the best time for demonetisation as the economy was strong. Had the economy been weak, then we could not have done it successfully,� he said.
In this regard, he gave the example of a patient who has to undergo a surgery. �Before subjecting a patient to surgery, a doctor checks all the parameters of the patient and only when those parameters are fine, is the operation done,� he said.
He also emphasised that the decision was not taken in a haste as contended by some sections. �Don�t assume that Modi does anything in a haste. For that you will need to study Modi.�
Acknowledging that demonetisation had brought �difficulties� to the people, the Prime Minister said, however, that the decision was not taken for any political mileage but for the benefit of the poor.
�We had to take it and took it,� he said.
Modi listed out the steps taken by his government to curb black money, including setting up of SIT, tightening the law on benami, Real Estate Bill, making PAN requirement mandatory for cash transactions of Rs 2 lakh and above and revision of tax treaties with countries like Mauritius, Singapore and USA.
�Had it been for political benefit, you would have done it,� he told the Congress.
Explaining why November 8 was chosen for the demonetisation decision, the Prime Minister said post-Diwali is usually a period when the business cycle subsides after peaking during the festival season.
He said he was aware that there would be some problems for 15-20 days and things would move towards normalcy in 50 days. �Today I can see that whatever I had analysed, we are moving in that direction,� he added.
To questions regarding change of rules 150 times after demonetisation announcement, Modi said it was done to find ways to ease problems of people.
�On the other side, there were people who were trying to find ways to adjust their black money,� he said and narrated a Hindi couplet to say that the government wanted to be a step ahead of those indulging in frauds.
Hitting out at Congress for raising the issue of change of rules 150 times on demonetisation, Modi said the previous UPA government had changed rules regarding MNREGA 1035 times during its implementation over six years.
Spelling out benefits of demonetisation, he said it has brought everything on the record, including details regarding who has deposited money, where he has deposited and how much has been deposited.
�There was a time when Income Tax officials used to operate arbitrarily. But that is history.... Now by use of technology and data mining, top names would be culled out without an I-T officer needing to go anywhere. They can just send SMS,� he said. � PTI