As Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended demonetisation he announced four years ago to this day, the Congress on Sunday accused him of “changing the goalposts" on the issue and posed questions whether it had helped achieve what all benefits it had envisioned.
“The Prime Minister shifts the goalpost each time he speaks on demonetisation," Congress leader Ajay Maken said at a press conference here.
He said in his November 8 address that lasted 25 minutes four years ago, Modi mentioned black money 18 times and fake or counterfeit currency 5 times. “There was no mention of digital/cashless economy."
The Congress leader alleged that then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said in the Supreme Court in November 2016 that out of Rs 15-16 lakh crores estimated to be in circulation, the government expected people to deposit Rs 10-11 lakh crore in banks. “The rest, Rs 4-5 lakh crore, were being used in the north-east and Jammu and Kashmir to fuel trouble in India. That will be neutralised."
“Has demonetisation helped in reducing black money and corruption? Why have incidents of fake and counterfeit currency increased after demonetisation? Why cash transactions increased after demonetisation? Moreover, is cashless economy even desirable? How has Maoism, terrorism and separatism impacted by demonetisation? Have saving deposits in banks increased after demonetisation? How has real estate fared after demonetisation?How demonetisation caused unemployment?" Maken asked.
The Congress said that 99.3 per cent of the currency in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination that was in circulation had came back to the system.
“As far as the corruption is concerned, we have seen a surge in the use of immense money power in poaching of MLAs and destabilising non-BJP state governments," the Congress leader remarked.
“While demonetisation did bring down cash use, it was only temporary. The total currency in circulation has surpassed pre-demonetisation levels (over Rs 22 trillion compared to Rs 17.7 trillion)," Maken said.