Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to scrap the existing high value currency notes has been dubbed as “startling and bold” by the Chinese media. However, it also said the move is “far from enough” and India may learn ways from China to unearth the undeclared black money.
“Modi in a startling and sudden move demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes to demonstrate that he is truly up for a fiercer fight against black money and corruption," an op-ed article in the state-run Global Times said.
"Modi means well and his decision was made based on the reality in India, since most illegal business in the underground economy is cash-only, and 500 and 1,000 rupee notes constitute over 80 per cent of all cash circulation in India. Nevertheless, we can hardly count on the new rule to fully root out corruption," the article titled 'Beijing offers clues for Modi's new anti-corruption moves'.
Since Modi assumed office, he has carried out a number of measures to crack down on black money, corruption and tax evasion. However, many of them are believed to be "without teeth and can't begin to scratch the surface of the problems he faces", it said.
India's new policy to scrap high value notes is considered a "risky, but a bold and decisive step", it said.
"And yet, delivering a corruption-free country requires more than banning currency notes. The key should be reforming systems. In this regard, New Delhi might need to look for ideas from Beijing," it said, referring to the massive anti- graft campaign carried out by President Xi Jinping in which over a million officials at different levels were punished.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party in 2012, during which he was elected as its general secretary, and taking over as the President and military chief, Xi launched an anti-graft campaign which despite the criticism effectively consolidated his power emerging as the most powerful Chinese leader after party founder Mao Zedong.
"Over the years, China promoted anti-corruption laws, improved the supervision system, deepened judicial system reforms and adopted measures to make sure the system is transparent," it said without referring to criticism about the campaign.
"For instance, China's foreign ministry has lately published information about the families of 12 senior officials on its website in an effort to fight against corruption through familial networks by improving transparency. These steps are taken to ensure that achievements made in the struggle against corruption can be consolidated by laws and systems," it said.
China is still on its way toward building a comprehensive anti-corruption system. But "compared with India, Beijing's method has already shown its efficiency", it said.
"More time is needed to see whether Modi's new policy will turn into a huge blow against corruption in India. The hard truth is that the corrupt and fraudulent won't just conduct shady deals by using cash, but with gold, real estate and overseas assets.
"Corruption can be bred in a variety of ways. Blocking the circulation of large currency bills is without question far from enough," it said.
(With PTI inputs)