New Delhi: Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday questioned former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's prediction that the ongoing demonetisation drive will lead to a two percent fall in GDP, saying the economy will instead emerge stronger and cleaner.
In an interview to CNN-News18 a day after Singh's scathing attack in Parliament, Minister Sitharaman said it was too early to predict GDP numbers and she didn't know how the former PM arrived at those figures.
When asked whether the currency ban will hit the economy, Sitharaman said: “The Government has tried its best to make things normal and enough currency was circulated...The distress level has come down, it won’t last beyond this quarter.”
Singh, in his speech in Rajya Sabha, on Thursday called the Narendra Modi government's move to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes as "organised loot and legalised plunder".
Sitharaman said she was shocked at Singh’s remark that “in the long-run, we are all dead”. “Government doesn’t only think for the short-term, it has to think for the long-term as well,” she said.
Shedding light on problems faced by the common man, she said that lack of sufficient small denomination notes hit vegetable mandis, but things have changed now with new Rs 500 notes coming in.
Allaying apprehensions of the prospective investors in India, the Commerce Minister said: “Investors need not worry as Indian economy will be cleaner and stronger post this drive.”
While talking about the current logjam in Parliament, Sitharaman said the government has been constantly telling the Opposition to allow a debate. “The Prime Minister never kept away from intervening in debates in the House,” she said.