Demonetisation a 'Political Move', Sold as 'Step Against Black Money': Congress
Terming demonetisation a "political move" made without preparation, Congress on Sunday said it is being sold as a "step against black money" and the Reserve Bank of India did not give the advice it should have offered to the government.
New Delhi: Terming demonetisation a "political move" made without preparation, Congress on Sunday said it is being sold as a "step against black money" and the Reserve Bank of India did not give the advice it should have offered to the government.
"Who gave the advice I do not know, but I believe, as Manmohan Singh had said in Rajya Sabha, that Reserve Bank of India did not give the advice it should have offered," party spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said.
The economy has been growing at 7-7.5 per cent and the decision was taken only for political reasons, he alleged. Ramesh made it clear that Congress did not call for a 'Bharat bandh' and alleged that BJP was spreading disinformation in this regard.
The Opposition parties will hold protests against demonetisation across the country by observing "Jan Aakrosh Diwas" tomorrow, he said, adding that economic activity has anyway come to a standstill since November 9.
Ramesh termed the decision to scrap high-value currency notes a "political decision for three reasons".
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes in 'dhamaka' politics. This is a dhamaka (bang) that has changed the narrative. Since November 8 there is no talk, but of demonetisation," he said.
The second reason is that Modi had seen the "writing on the wall" in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls next year. And thirdly, to cover up the government's failure to deliver on the Prime Minister's big electoral promise of bringing back black money stashed abroad.
"We welcome steps taken to eradicate black money. But I am afraid...all best estimates are that only 6 per cent of it is kept in the form of cash. So to address this problem, you have put 80 per cent of India through hardships... While common people were facing difficulties, the actual culprits are leading lives of luxury," Ramesh said.
He said it may take 250 days to print the required number of currency notes to get the economy back on track. If notes are printed abroad, it will be a mockery of "Make in India" initiative of the government.
The Congress leader said "a cashless society Modi has been talking of" may become a reality after 100 years, but not in the near future when a majority depends on cash transactions.
"Does the Prime Minister want to have cash-less mandis? Does the PM want to have the unorganized sector working
cashless? I am sorry to say it's a ridiculous proposition, to say that India will become cashless and all these economic sectors will become cashless," he said.
Such transitions take time and cannot be forced through shocks, he said.
Asked why Congress' ally Nitish Kumar was not in favour of protests against demonetisation, Ramesh said JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav was supporting it.