New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ripped Narendra Modi led NDA government’s demonetization policy apart in the Rajya Sabha. While opposition parties have been attacking the government for the last more than a fortnight since the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, this is the best and most logical response that has come from the opposition parties.
That he is a good debater was never in doubt, but today Singh who is behind the transformation of the Indian economy in the last three decades proved that he has the ability to put the Government on defensive singlehandedly.
The whole nation seems to be suffering from the sudden ban on two high value currency notes. Dozens of people have lost their lives and hundreds of millions of work hours have been lost as people kept standing in queues outside banks and ATMs throughout the country merely to get hold of their own money. This is unprecedented and people are still suffering badly.
While speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Dr Singh described the implementation of the demonetisation drive as “monumental mismanagement” and a case of “organised loot and legalised plunder. The former Prime Minister went on to add that the ill-advised and badly implemented move will also drag the country’s GDP by 2 percentage points.
Singh said, “The national income, that is the GDP of the country, can decline by about 2 percentage points as a result of what has been done. This is an underestimate, not an overestimate…What has been done can also weaken and erode our people’s confidence in the currency system and in the banking system”
He criticized the sudden and repeated changes in the banking system in the country. “It is no good that everyday the banking system comes up with new rules. It reflects very poorly on the Prime Minister’s Office, the Finance Minister’s Office and the Reserve Bank of India”, said Manmohan Singh. While he was speaking in the upper house of the Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the house.
Statistics suggest that the Indian economy had expanded by 7.2 percent during the third quarter ended December 31 of last fiscal year, and by 7.6 per cent for the year as a whole. Manmohan Singh’s GDP estimate comes against the backdrop of a host of economists, experts and think tanks revising downward their growth outlook for India, with the most pessimistic forecast being a mere 0.5 per cent growth by Ambit Capital for the six-month period ending March 31, 2017. The former prime minister wondered if the government was aware of the extent of hardship that demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes ordered by Prime Minister Modi had caused small businesses, the common man and the rural economy. Towards this, he reminded the government that 90 per cent of the work force is in the informal sector and 55 per cent of those in the agriculture sector are in distress.
The Prime minister asked, “I would like to know from the Prime Minister the names of any country he may think of where people have deposited their money in their banks, but they are not allowed to withdraw…In the process of demonetisation, monumental mismanagement has been undertaken about which there are no two opinions in country as a whole…It is a case of organised loot and legalised plunder. It is not my intention to pick holes. I sincerely hope the Prime Minister, even at this late hour, will find a solution”.