Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Demonetisation was an attack on RBI's credibility: Dr Manmohan Singh

Narendra Modi GST Himachal Pradesh Gujarat Manmohan Singh Jawaharlal Nehru National Textile Corporation Manmohan Singh in Gujarat as BJP gears up for 'Anti-Black Money' Day
Cecilia Poole | 08 November, 2017, 00:38

On the eve of the first anniversary of demonetisation, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attacked the Union Government over its Demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax policies. "This attitude of suspecting everyone to be a thief or an anti-national, this low level rhetoric is damaging to democratic discourse and as real consequences of how we relate to one another as citizens", Singh said.

Congress party along with a few other opposition parties have made a decision to observe 8 Nov as the black day in India. "Today, every global agency eulogise the kind of structural reforms India has initiated", said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in retaliation to Singh's allegations. Finance minister Arun Jaitley defended the move, saying demonetisation was a watershed moment that had not only worked to curb illegal wealth creation, but also spurred the creation of a less-cash economy. Making a powerful defence of the exercise on the eve of one year of demonetisation, Jaitley said reform initiatives taken by the BJP-led government had lifted India's stature in the global economy, the measures preventing it from being knocked off the global radar and raising it to a position where all worldwide agencies have been eulogising the structural reforms. "I remember feeling shocked when I heard the Prime Minister's (Narendra Modi's) announcement and I wondered who advised him to inflict such a reckless step on our nation, and whether any considered thought went into it".

Jaitley took a dig at Manmohann Singh, saying "anti-black money drive is (an) ethical drive, a moral step and what is morally and ethically correct has to be politically correct". He said it has met its objective of reducing cash in the economy, ending anonymity of cash, bringing more individuals into the tax net and dealing a body blow to black money. It had been suggested many times in the past as well, but as a responsible government, we never took such a drastic measure. "Nowhere in the world any democracy has taken such a coercive step". The fact that more than 99 per cent of the demonetised currency came back into the banking system, has punctured the government's claims.

He said that while demonetisation is not a solution to all problems, it has changed the agenda, ushering in a less-cash economy, increasing numbers of tax assesses and squeezing terror funding. Even this is underestimated as the pain of the informal sector has not even been calculated, he added.

The Congress leader further highlighted that India had to "run for Chinese imports" at the cost of Indian jobs and in the first half of 2016-17, imports from China stood at Rs.1.96 Lakh Crore and in 2017-18 it increased to Rs 2.41 Lakh Crore. Every one per cent loss of GDP costs our nation Rs 1.5 lakh crore. They had broken the back of small businesses in States like Gujarat. Instead of providing relief, as I had requested in Parliament, to the poor and marginalised, farmers, traders, and the small and medium businesses, who suffered the brunt of demonetisation, the government chose to inflict on them a badly designed and hastily implemented GST'. The government did not heed to our advice on demonetisation. He said it had severely impacted the weaker section of the economy. He further added that whether by questioning the bullet train, does one become anti-development?


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