Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday justified demonetisation which has come in for criticism, asserting that his government was not afraid of taking "big" and "tough" decisions in the interest of the country.
Addressing the Indian diaspora in Myanmar, he said his government could take such decisions because it considers the country bigger than politics.
Along with demonetisation announced on November 8 last year, he also named the surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) last year and the GST which was rolled out on July 1 as the "big" and "tough" decisions taken by his three- year-old government.
Referring to the note ban, the prime minister said the step was taken to curb black money and that it had helped identify lakhs of people who had crores of rupees in bank accounts but never paid income tax.
He also said that registration of over two lakh companies had been cancelled as those had been found to be indulging in the laundering of black money.
"To deal with corruption, we banned currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination. A handful of corrupt people were making 125 crore people pay for their misdeeds. This was not acceptable to us," Modi said in a 35-minute address.
"There used to be no clue as to from where black money was coming and where it was going," he said.
His justification of demonetisation came against the backdrop of criticism of the decision by the opposition parties.
The Congress has dubbed the noteban as a "disaster" and said it had "utterly failed" while the "corrupt made windfall gains".