The country as a whole has been affected by the anti-black money campaign. As common citizens, we all had to face cash troubles and wait in long queues for ATMs, despite that, the move was supported largely. The targeted section of corrupt now face nightmares. NMTV present a list of the most affected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s anti-black money campaign.
If black money had one safest haven, it was in the hands of politicians across the country, across political parties. The heat of demonetization evidently was first felt by them. It’s not hidden from anyone that from ticket distribution to elections, electoral funding remains a looming threat to India’s democratic system. Fighting elections is a costly affair and the expenditure limits set up by election commission are unrealistic and barring a few almost all parties take anonymous donations from affluent business class and which is mostly tax evaded money. Demonetisation is a crucial step to curtail black money into politics. Demonetization is likely to continue causing a cash crunch for political parties. This would in turn open the debate for much needed electoral reforms that’s been pending for long and ultimately may be a step towards the cleansing of the system, formalise the economy to a greater extent leaving the exchequer richer.
The shadow economy created due to hawala dealings overburdens the honest, hardworking taxpayers who constitute mere one percent of the total population. Hawala trading is one of the major sources of black money. It is a parallel illegal network and government loses tax on such illegal transfers. A large part of Indian economy is black and that the dishonest politicians, industrialists, bureaucrats have stashed huge amounts of illegal wealth in foreign banks in tax heaven countries. Hawala trade has also received a punch as a result of demonetization. With demonetization rendering old currency notes invalid, the entire network is broken.
REAL ESTATE MAFIA
In towns, cities and metros, real estate is a big source of black money. In India, a large percentage of land deals are underreported. Whenever you go to a builder to see a flat, you always have to pay from 20 up to 40 percent of the cost in cash. No builder takes 100% cash and they are able to hide a significant part of their income from tax authorities. With demonetization, they are unable to provide the sources of their illegally acquired money or face heavy penalties. This whole game of power and political connections has virtually made it impossible for common man to afford house at otherwise affordable rates. But promises of action against benami properties has shocked real estate mafia and caught them unguarded. A considerable decline in real estate pieces proves the effectiveness of the policies enacted by Modi government.
FAKE CURRENCY DEALERS
Another important motive achieved through demonetization is a curb on black money. Pakistan imports more ink and paper than it needs for currency printing for itself. ISI runs fake currency printing presses in Pakistan which is smuggled into India through Bangladesh and Nepal routes. Fake currency is no longer available as a safe option like before and people want to avoid dealing with it due to demonetization. This would have a ripple effect and would reduce corruption and illegal activities in general.
The old notes were copied by Pakistan and used to finance terror in India. The new notes have advanced security features that may not be easy to copy for them for a long time. This is set to give a big blow to terror outfits that use this fake money to fund terrorists and export them to India. With demonetization the Hawala route is broken and it’s not possible for Pakistan to route money into India to spread terror. Within weeks of demonetization, Kashmir became a more peaceful place.
Gambling in India is banned except lotteries but India have an illegal racket running nationwide that conducts batting on many things. The net turnover of illegal batting in India is estimated to be around $150bn and bulk of which is in cricket. Other things that have betting in India are movie performances on silver screen, election results, weather predictions and more. Measures like demonetization have made circumventing the rules difficult as the cash depositors may be asked to reveal the sources of the money later.
Indian education system is also a huge generator of black money every year. Capitation fees of around 50 thousand crore is paid at various educational levels from KG to PG in India. This so generated black money often finds its ways to terrorism, election financing and religious conversions. Medical and engineering colleges are the biggest sources of black money with every seat going for lakhs of rupees. Educational institutes can no longer have usual donation practices and there is looming fear in the minds of people related to all sectors that tax authorities are keeping strict vigil at their activities. This will definitely help poor parents to afford quality education for their children.
FAKE TRUSTS AND CHARITY
Fake trusts and charity are also a big source of black money in India. They are created sometimes only to turn black money into white. They take black money, evade taxes on them and instead of using that money for charitable purposes route it back to the donors after deducting a commission. While we can’t stop donations to charitable organisations, at least the large donations must not happen in cash.
RICH AGRICULTURAL LAND OWNERS
In India, agricultural income is tax free but this channel is often misused to launder black money costing the exchequer in billions. While it is true that a large number of farmers in India are poor, there exist few very rich landowners that masquerade as poor farmers. But now, due to strict action on illegal land dealings, ‘benami’ transactions, ill wealth and action on corrupt bureaucrats by the Modi government have plugged the loopholes in the system. The fake farmers are looking for ways to dispose off their ill gotten wealth before the taxman can initiate criminal proceedings against them.
Film industry is another field where a lot of black money is involved. In a wikileaks cable in 2011, it got revealed that film industry welcomed the funds from politicians and gangsters who are looking to invest their ill-gotten funds. Warnings, income tax declaration scheme, demonetisation, blocking routes to tax heaven countries, stress on e-transactions, adhaar linking and GST implementation shows the intent and determination of the government to uproot black money and corruption. This incessant drive against illegal money has left corrupts people in the film industry puzzled and vulnerable.
NAXALITES AND MAOIST GROUPS
Naxalites and such home grown anti social and internal terrorist groups want to destabilise government. They rely on extorted, unaccounted and ill gotten wealth from various illegal sources. Another benefit of demonetization is that Naxal financing has reduced.
Bribery is a big way in India that generates black money. In schools, colleges, hospitals, pension offices, recruitment boards, electricity department, water department everywhere bribery is rampant. It is common belief these days that government job interviews can’t be cleared until bribe is paid. With demonetization, the cash stashed as a result of at least large bribes would be rendered useless and RBI would be extinguished of its liabilities. Moreover, with the PM Modi government stressing on less cash economy and making systematic changes to encourage people to use e-wallets and e-transactions, taking bribes is becoming suicidal.
While the common man has faced a lot of inconvenience and the step has tested their patience, for those in India who can see the corrupt network with black money crumbling under demonetization effects, there is still a lot of support for this major step taken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.