Microsoft founder Bill Gates (left) praised PM Narendra Modi's move to demonetize 500 and 1000 rupee notes
Microsoft founder Bill Gates (left) praised PM Narendra Modi's move to demonetize 500 and 1000 rupee notes

NEW DELHI (TIP): Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization decision, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said it is a “bold move” and will deflate India’s shadow economy.

Delivering the Second Transforming India Lecture organized NITI Aayog on Wednesday, November 16, Gates said that shift to digital transactions will enhance transparency and reduce leakages. PM Modi, in surprise decision on November 8, demonetized currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denomination, replacing them with new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 bills.

“The Prime Minister’s bold move to demonetize high-value denominations and replace with new notes with high security features is an important step to deflate India’s shadow economy,” Gates said.

India, he added, “has all the pieces in place for a compelling vision for digital financial inclusion. Aadhaar will convert a cumbersome, paper-based account opening process into a 30-second, all-digital system.”

He was of the view that Aadhaar will also create a centralized data repository. The impending rollout of payment banks and the ubiquity of mobile phones can enable access for all Indians to digital accounts connected to a fraud-resistant interoperable payment system, he said.

Referring to health issues in India, the Co-Chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said, “If I had a wand and could fix one health issue in India, it would be the malnutrition crisis. There are states that have made great progress, but there also are regions where malnutrition is the norm, not the exception.”