Washington: The United States on Wednesday described India’s demonetisation drive as an “important and necessary” step to curb illicit cash and actions. “…this was, we believe, an important and necessary step to crack down on illegal actions,” Mark Toner, State Department spokesperson, said in response to a question.
Mr. Toner said the demonetisation exercise “followed on a series of steps that the Modi government took over the past two years to reduce black market money.”
“I think it also included a four-month amnesty for tax evaders in India, which resulted in...the disclosure or declaration of billions of dollars in hidden assets. This was an action – I’m talking about the discontinuance of the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes – designed to target illicit cash proceeds from corruption and tax dodging,” he said.
‘Inconvenient but necessary’
Acknowledging that the move inconvenienced people, Mr. Toner said it was “a necessary one to address the corruption.”
“As it was an inconvenience for many Indians, it was an inconvenience for Americans who were also there …. American citizens, who are working and living in India, I think have the proper information now to exchange those notes or to get new notes, and it’s a little bit of an adjustment, just as it was an inconvenience, I’m sure, for many Indians,” he said.