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Demonetisation historic step: Sitharaman


New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Nearly two months after the November 8 demonetisation, a senior Union minister on Saturday hailed scrapping of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as "historic" and said the step "could only be taken by a visionary leadership".

"The entire executive unanimously agreed that it is a historic step," Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industries, told the media on the second day of the Bharatiya Janata Party National Executive meet here.

She said such decision required visionary leadership, which the BJP had now provided.

Sitharaman measures announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi post-demonetisation were due to the fact that he fully recognised the hardships faced by the Dalits, tribals and women and took steps accordingly to allay them.

"We formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe accounts holding black money, and rewrote treaties with many nations and signed them all over again, for exchange of information as to who’s holding how much," she said.

The minister spoke of a ‘Benami Properties Confiscation Act, 1988’ which, she said, "was never notified by the previous governments.

"We brought that bill before a parliamentary Standing Committee in 2014 and notified it… so that the government can confiscate benami properties," she said.

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