His critics (wrongly) accuse him of being silent and doing nothing on corruption. His detractors often say that he has not taken enough steps to fight the menace of black money and rampant corruption. However, the truth is far from the propaganda spread by the media houses, which don’t let the positive news come on the surface. Since Narendra Modi came to power, he has been waging a systematic war on corruption, so that even if he does not return to power some day, corruption on large as well as small scale will become impossible. So, what are these long term concrete steps PM Modi has taken to fight corruption ? Let us go through a timeline of multiple actions that PM Modi has taken after becoming PM to seriously fight the menace of corruption and black money:
- 27 MAY 2014 : First cabinet decision – Formation of SIT to fight black money & corruption (which had been delayed by Congress since 4 years despite Supreme Court’s orders)
- 14 FEB 2015 : Online auction of coal blocks started by the government after SC cancels all the coal block allocations made by UPA. While the UPA did a scam of Rs 1,86,000 crore in coal block allocation, online auction has yielded more than Rs 5,00,000 crore and the allocation is not yet complete.
- 31 DEC 2015 : No interview for grade-3 and grade-4 central government jobs. The interview in these jobs had become a major source of corruption where only those who could bribe the senior officials on interview panels could be selected.
- 11 MAY 2016 : Mauritius route of black money laundering put to an end. The Mauritius route accounted for 35% of overall black money investment in India. The bilateral treaty signed between India and Mauritius ended this evil practice of bringing huge sums of black money and converting it into white.
- 5 SEP 2016 : PM Modi personally raises the issue of ending safe tax havens in Europe and other countries in the most important G20 meeting. All the major countries of G20 agreed to wage a war on money laundering, black money and terror funding on the call of PM Modi.
- 1 NOV 2016 : BENAAMI (Transactions) Act amended and notified after 18 years. The previous governments had NOT notified the benaami act, and hence was not under effect (The reasons of the benaami transaction act not being implemented by Congress for 18 years can well be speculated !)
- 8 NOV 2016 : Currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banned. A historical move which broke the backbone of counterfeit currency, terror funding, naxalism, human trafficking and black money used to fund these.
- 22 NOV 2016 : Switzerland signs the treaty to share all real time financial transaction details with India. This means from September 2019, NO ONE can store any illegal money in Swiss banks, as Switzerland will provide real time information of everyone depositing any amount. It was PM Modi’s persistent diplomacy, and his personal meeting with Swiss head which finally resulted in Switzerland-India signing this much important treaty.
- 2 DEC 2016 : Rs 65,000 crore of unaccounted money by 64,200 people declared under the Voluntary Income Disclosure, from which government of India earned Rs 29,000 crore in form of taxes.
- 30 DEC 2016 : Singapore route of black money routing blocked, as India and Singapore sign the double taxation treaty.
- 30 JAN 2017 : 18 Lakh people who have made deposits of “unaccounted sum” post demonetization identified. Income Tax department sends notice to them, asking them to explain the unaccounted deposits, failing which action will be taken.
- 1 FEB 2017 : Political funding to the parties by cash decreased from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000.
Apart from these, Jan Dhan Yojana is a major game changer in the war against black money. With every person of India having a bank account, government has started to provide all the benefits and subsidies directly to the bank accounts of people, and thereby ending the huge corruption that existed due to middlemen siphoning away all the funds. This practice of Direct Benefit Transfer has saved the government money in excess of 46,000 crore per year, a huge sum.
Now, these are systemic changes that will ensure that even if Modi is not elected in next election, it should be impossible for the new government to indulge in corruption. The reasons :
- Swiss Banks will share all the information related to transactions with India from September 2019. So, no scope of money laundering to Swiss Banks
- The previously laundered money can now no longer be brought back to India via Mauritius, Singapore and Cyprus routes.
- Political funding is only going to get more and more stricter with cap on cash donation and push for digital and bond-based donations.
- Online auctions of Coal blocks, spectrum and minerals have been made the norm which will be very difficult to change by next governments even if Modi does not come back to power.
Ask yourself when was the last time in the history of independent India any govt took such key decisions in a systematic way to fight corruption, both in short as well as long term.