The Congress on Friday launched a multi-pronged attack on the Narendra Modi government on the third anniversary of its demonetisation move even as voices from within the government lauded the prime minister for waging a war against "black money hoarders, tax evaders and the corrupt".
While former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi called the decision a "terror attack" that "devastated" the economy and "took many lives" current party president Sonia Gandhi likened it to Muhammad Bin Tughlaq rendering currency useless in 1330. The government supporters hit back calling the move a "boon for the honest and bane for the corrupt".
Three years ago, on this day, Modi had made the shock announcement of banning the use of old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes with an aim to curb black money, promote digital payments and make the country a less-cash economy.
Opposition lashes out
Sonia held the Modi government responsible for taking away livelihoods through demonetisation and said her party will ensure that the nation never forgets or forgives the "Tughlaqi blunder". She said the prime minister and his colleagues have never taken responsibility for the "faux pas" that claimed over 120 lives and proved a death knell for India's medium and small businesses.
"No matter how much the Modi government may try and evade responsibility for this ludicrous and short-sighted measure, the nation and its people will ensure that they are held accountable," Sonia said in a statement.
In a scathing attack on the government, Rahul Gandhi tweeted:
It’s 3 yrs since the Demonetisation terror attack that devastated the Indian economy, taking many lives, wiping out lakhs of small businesses & leaving millions of Indians unemployed.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 8, 2019
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also hit out at the Modi government for claiming that demonetisation was a "slayer of all evils", saying it proved to be a "disaster" that has all but destroyed the economy.
3 years since #Demonetisation and every claim made by the government and those hailing it as a slayer of all evils has been turned on its head. It proved to be a disaster that has all but destroyed our economy. Anyone want to claim responsibility?#DeMonetisationDisaster — Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) November 8, 2019
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala described the prime minister as "today's Tughlaq". "Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq rendered the country's currency useless in the year 1330. Today's Tughlaq did the same on 8 November, 2016," he tweeted.
"Three years have passed and the country is suffering because- economy collapsed, employment lost. Neither terrorism stopped, nor the business of fake notes," he said and asked who is responsible.
Surjewala also cited global rating agency Moody's lowering the outlook on India's ratings to negative, to claim that demonetisation was a "man-made catastrophe".
सत्यमेव जयते! नोटबंदी की तीसरी वरसी पर अंतरराष्ट्रीय रेटिंग एजेंसी मूडीज ने देश की अर्थव्यवस्था की आउटलुक को नेगटिव कर फिर साबित कर दिया कि नोटबंदी, “मानव निर्मित एक भयावह आपदा थी” नोटबंदी की तीसरी वरसी पर सत्ता के गलियारों में बैठे हुक्मरान, मौन क्यों हैं?#3YrsOfDeMoDisaster pic.twitter.com/Yuz592rW1d — Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) November 8, 2019
The Congress leader also questioned the "silence" of those in power on the third anniversary of demonetisation.
Taking a dig at the government's 2016 move, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted:
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) November 8, 2019
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh also referred to the downgrading of India's rating by Moody, to take a dig at the government.
Moody's downgrades Modi's New India's investment outlook from stable to negative. That too on the 3rd anniversary of #Notebandi How could it? itni himmat?! It better watch out now! — Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) November 8, 2019
The Congress from its official Twitter handle also posted several tweets to attack the government over demonetisation. It said that there has been no decision taken by any government in India's history that has caused such a devastating impact on the economy as Demonetisation.
"Three years after that fateful night the effects of this disastrous policy are still felt amongst various sectors," the party said.
"One of the apparent benefits of demonetisation was supposed to be the eradication of fake currency; the BJP may be surprised to learn that fake currency doubled within a year of this disaster," it said in another tweet.
After failing all its other objectives, the BJP government proceeded to push 'digital economy' as a benefit of demonetisation, but once again this failed miserably, the Congress claimed in a tweet using the hashtag 'Note bandi Se Mandi Tak (from demonetisation to economic slowdown'.
"Three years after demonetisation the pain and fear still lingers in people's lives and the devastating effect on the economy reverberates through every sector. Does the BJP govt have the courage to accept their faults?" the Congress said.
The Youth Congress activists staged a demonstration outside the Reserve Bank of India's office in Mumbai, slamming the Modi government.
DMK president MK Stalin claimed demonetisation "destroyed small businesses, created unprecedented unemployment and accelerated economic distress."
Demonetisation destroyed small businesses, created unprecedented unemployment and accelerated economic distress.
Which is why, today, even the Govt is silent on demonetisation. Will the Govt work on reviving the economy and creating jobs atleast now?#DeMonetisationDisaster pic.twitter.com/GO3zxGlMaC — M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) November 8, 2019
Government hits back
Union minister Piyush Goyal on Twitter called the prime minister's 2016 move "a milestone in India's fight against corruption".
Boon for the Honest, Bane for the Corrupt: PM @NarendraModi ji's bold decision of demonetisation has been a milestone in India's fight against corruption, resulting in a cleaner economy, increased compliance to tax laws, closure of shell companies & rise in digital payments. — Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) November 8, 2019
BJP Udupi-Chickmagalur MP Shobha Karandlaje claimed the demonetisation move was a "black day for those hiding money in mattresses and to those who were generating and dealing in unaccounted money."
Karandlaje added that the common man embraced the move and joined the prime minister in his fight against black money. Karandlaje, in a follow up tweet, listed the benefits of demonetisation:
PM @narendramodi Ji led govt has waged a war against black money hoarders, tax evaders & the corrupt. Decision of #Demonetisation has, - Unearthed undisclosed income. - Widened Tax base. - Contributed towards a cleaner economy with clean money.#NewIndia pic.twitter.com/1XDErbB0MB — Shobha Karandlaje (@ShobhaBJP) November 8, 2019
Amit Malviya, head of BJP's IT media cell, said, "It is only the corrupt, who were active beneficiaries of a system of tax evasion, tax avoidance, generators of black money or promoters of shell companies, are whining."
Malviya further tweeted:
Just so that we appreciate the extent of pain #DeMo caused to the corrupt: 1.5 lakh people deposited 5 lakh crore. Such a large sum of money with so few? Obviously agencies closed in on these people and hence the visceral dislike for an exercise that puts premium on honesty...
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 8, 2019
'Demonetise Rs 2,000 note'
Meanwhile, former economic affairs secretary SC Garg said the Rs 2,000 note, which the Modi government brought replacing older Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, were being hoarded and should be demonetised.
"Cash is still quite high in the system. There is also stocking of Rs 2,000 notes in evidence. The expansion of digital payments is taking place all over the world. It is happening in India as well. The pace is much slower," Garg, who took VRS from government service after he was abruptly shifted out of the finance ministry, said in a note.
Garg, who headed the department that (among other things) overseas currency circulation, said the Rs 2,000-notes account for about one-third of currency notes in circulation in value terms.
"A good chunk of Rs 2,000 notes are actually not in circulation, having been hoarded. Rs 2,000 note, therefore, is not presently working as a currency of transaction," he said advocating that they may be demonetised or withdrawn from circulation.
"It can be demonetised, without causing any disruption. A simple method, depositing these notes in the bank accounts (no counter replacement), can be used to manage the process," he said.
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Updated Date: Nov 08, 2019 17:13:40 IST