Hitting out at Opposition parties protesting against demonetisation, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani today claimed those who have been "robbed of black money" in the wake of the Centre's move, are not letting Parliament work.
No business could be transacted in either Houses of Parliament in the last two days due to ruckus by Congress-led opposition parties, which demanded in the Lok Sabha a debate on demonetisation under a rule that entails voting and presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha for resumption of discussion on the issue.
"Naturally, those who have been robbed of their black money are not letting Parliament work. We should set aside our political differences and work together in the interest of our nation," Irani said.
"Demonetisation is a part of the Centre's war against black money, corruption, and against those who have filled their coffers with money that belong to the country's poor citizens," she said on the sidelines of an event here to distribute identity cards to the handicraft artisans as part of her ministry's new initiative.
Irani said citizens battling long queues to exchange old currency notes and with new ones are warriors fighting corruption along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I am grateful to them. India will forever be grateful to those Indians, who understood Modi's call (for war against black money and corruption)," the Union Minister said.
To a question about people who died while standing in queues at the banks, she said, "My sympathies are with every family. We are trying to ensure that people get help from bank employees.
"I am also grateful to those who are helping each other out with the feeling that this (demonetisation) is a historic step. Coming generations will remain indebted to them," Irani said.
During the event, Irani announced a slew of measures to uplift artisans, including Rs 1,200 per annum stipend to the children of artisans studying in Class IX to XI, organising camps in crafts clusters for loans and insurance schemes, training of artisans, distribution of free tool-kits to artisans belonging to BPL, SC/ST, and minority communities.
She also said the age of artisans to qualify for Centre's Shilp Guru Awards will be reduced from 55 to 50 years, and for National Award for handicraft artisans will be reduced to 25 from existing 30 years.