Manmohan Singh fires off scathing op-ed, calls demonetisation a 'mammoth tragedy'

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh once again trained his guns on the Narendra Modi government's demonetisation move, calling it a "mammoth tragedy".

A month after the old currency notes of Rs 500 and 1,000 were banned overnight, in an editorial for the newspaper The Hindu on Friday, Singh wrote how the decision will hurt the Indians who earn their wages in cash, while the black money hoarders will get away with a "mere rap on the knuckles".

 Manmohan Singh fires off scathing op-ed, calls demonetisation a mammoth tragedy

File image of former PM Manmohan Singh. AFP

"The popular saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” serves as a useful reminder and warning in this context," wrote Singh saying that although the intention to get the country rid of the black money is genuine, the method adopted by the current government is flawed.

Singh goes on to explain that millions across the country who earn their wages and hence, save, exclusively in cash has been the worst hit. "To tarnish these as ‘black money’ and throw the lives of these hundreds of millions of poor people in disarray is a mammoth tragedy," he writes.

Meanwhile, Singh says that only a fraction of the actual black money is stored in cash form (rest in land, gold, foreign exchange, etc) by the guilty. And these people have much easy access to banks and other facilities.

He goes on to call Modi's decision a "travesty of this fundamental duty".

Singh also slammed the government for propagating that it has solutions for all the  problems while the previous one did nothing.  "It is not so," writes Singh, saying the government needs to take care of the weak and not run away from responsibility.

Echoing his Rajya Sabha speech from last month, Singh said the move can even have an adverse effect on the GDP growth and job creation.

Last month Singh broke his silence on the central government's demonetisation move, criticising Modi over the decision. During a debate in Rajya Sabha on 24 November, Singh said, "The GDP of the country will decline by about 2 percent by what has been done. And this is an underestimate and not an overestimate."

Experts have agreed with Singh's observations — who is an eminent economist — and concurred that the decline in GDP could be as high as three or four percent.

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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2016 10:31:12 IST