A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi implemented the demonetization, there has been a behavioral shift as the country goes digital with more and more people are using and preferring digital transactions, Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said here on Wednesday. Besides, the government has successfully countered critical issues like terrorism, Maoism, the menace of counterfeit currency, black money, hawala operations, shell companies and detected suspicious lakhs of accounts, he said, adding that massive cash deposits of Rs 3.68 lakh crore in 23.22 lakh bank account behavioural suspicion post-demonetisation and are being investigated.

Besides, around 17.73 cases of cash transactions which failed to match the income profiles of the individuals have been detected, he said. “There is No. 1 (white) economy and the No. 2 (black) economy has been wiped out. We are moving fast towards a digital and cashless economy,” Gadkari told media persons here on the first anniversary of demonetisation. “Now, you people are purchasing vegetables through cashless mode, people are paying by (debit and credit) cards in hotels and restaurants,” he said. Referring to protests and opposition, Gadkari claimed that “only those who had black money, or were supporting and harbouring those having black money, were affected badly”. Citing statistics, he said that August 2017, the total digital transactions stood at Rs 138 crore against Rs 87 crore in August, 2016, a jump of as much as 58 per cent.

Similarly, the taxation base has widened and e-filing of returns have increased. “In fact, the numbers of tax-payers have increased by 26.6 per cent from 66.53 lakh in 2015-16 to 84.21 lakh in 2016-17. Filing of e-returns increased by 27.97 per cent from 2.35 crore in 2016-17 to 3.10 crore in 2017-18,” Gadkari said. On other gains, he said due to demonetization, there has been a clampdown on terrorism and Left wing extremism. “Hawala trading has been dealt a deathly blow, 2.24 lakh shell companies were exposed and forced to wind up operations while many black money and hawala transactions have been detected which are under the scanner of investigators.

“Plus, we have noticed that incidents of stone pelting in Kashmir valley has come down considerably. Because of demonetization, we have also been able to tackle the counterfeit currency,” he said. Post-demonetization, a whopping 58,000 bank accounts belonging to 35,000 companies have been found to be illegally transacting Rs 17,000 crore. To a question on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Gadkari mockingly said “he will shed tears since they have lost power, they are now jobless.. let him cry”.