'Demonetisation was not mistake, it was assault on people': Rahul Gandhi takes on NDA govt over note ban

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday launched a sharp attack on the NDA government on demonetisation, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi owed the country an answer. Rahul made these remarks at a press conference in New Delhi, held a day after the Reserve Bank of India said that 99.3 percent of all notes made illegal through the move returned to the banking process.

The Congress president alleged that the note ban was aimed at helping crony capitalists and "finishing off" small businesses. "Demonetisation was not a mistake, it was an assault on the people," he asserted.

File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

"Modi should answer as to why he inflicted a deep wound like demonetisation when issues like unemployment and a low GDP rate were present," he said.

During the press conference, the Congress president said that when the move was announced, Modi had promised that it would curb black money and fake currency, and hit terror funding. "The RBI's report proves that all these objectives failed," he contended.

Rahul Gandhi alleged that the objective of demonetisation was only to "take the money of poor people, and give it 15 of the wealthiest people in the country." He further said, "The policy only helped crony capitalists, who in turn had helped market Narendra Modi.

"This can't be called a jumla; it is a scam. Modi was right in saying that his government did what no other government could do in the last 70 years."

He also hit out at the Centre over Rafale deal. "I gave an option to Modi ji, through Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ji, to have a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). He (Jaitley) is writing long blogs these days. Did he ask Modi ji about JPC? We don’t know," he said.

Hailing the UPA rule, Rahul Gandhi said at the press conference that the Congress showed how the country should be governed. "Manmohan Singh has set a precedent; Jaitley and Modi have destroyed the country. During our time, Rs 2.5 lakh crore were the NPAs (non-performing assets); now it is Rs 12 lakh crore," he said.

99.3 percent of notes back in system

Banks received Rs 15.31 lakh crore or 99.3 percent of the Rs 15.41 lakh crore worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were in circulation on 8 November, 2016 — the day when the note ban was announced, according to the RBI.

This means that just Rs 10,720 crore of the junked currency notes did not return to the banking system. Initial estimates had pegged that around Rs 3 lakh crore worth demonetised notes would not return to the system as they might have been stashed away illegally to avoid tax.

The RBI, which has taken over two years to count the currency notes that were returned in the limited period window provided by the government to exchange or deposit the demonetised notes, said in its 2017-18 annual report that the exercise is finally over.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Aug 30, 2018 18:37:38 IST

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