As Rajya Sabha witnessed another day of impasse even after the resumption of debate on demonetisation, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Opposition of running away from the business and causing disruptions. He also took on former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh’s criticism of demonetisation, accusing the previous Congress-led UPA government of several grafts during its rule.
Rejecting Dr. Singh’s contention that GDP growth will plunge by 2 per cent, Jaitley said demonetisation will have positive impact on the economy over medium to long term as the money from shadow economy will find its way into the mainstream.
“Those who did not consider the generation of so much black money and scams during their regime as blunder are now finding the crusade against black money as blunder,” Arun Jaitley said.
Earlier, during the debate in Rajya Sabha, Dr. Manmohan Singh strongly criticised the government and the Prime Minister over demonetisation, calling its implementation a “monumental management failure” and a case of “organised loot and legalised plunder.”
After a brief debate, the Rajya Sabha was repeatedly adjourned with Opposition insisting that the Prime Minister be present during the entire debate.
PM Modi was present in Upper House till it broke for lunch recess at 1:00 PM. After it resumed at 2:00 PM, the Opposition MPs demanded his presence throughout the debate, at which the government accused the opposition of not keen on debate but on disruption.
“The government position is very clear from the day one that we are ready for the debate…. The Opposition was finding excuses to avoid discussion but today morning they were taken by surprise when we announced that the Prime Minister will participate in the debate.
“Now they are inventing and manufacturing reasons to escape the debate,” Jaitley told the press pack at the Parliament.
Lashing out at the previous UPA government, Jaitley alleged that “the maximum black money was generated during the 2004-14 as well as the period was engulfed in various scams like 2G and coal scam”.
He also stressed that the government to demonetise the higher denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will have a “positive” impact on the economy. He also stressed that the measure will increase lending capacity of banks which could extend the money to farmers, social sector and also industry.
On an opposition’s allegation that the some BJP leaders were aware of the move, while he himself was not kept in the loop, Arun Jaitely said, “This decision was kept a secret. The people who needed to know, knew (about it)… the allegation is already contradictory that the information was known to some BJP members as though I was not a BJP member.”
Jaitley also rejected the accusation that RBI governor Urjit Patel did not address the media after the announcement of the scheme, saying the “office people are supposed to perform” and not come out in front of the camera.
He also rejected the JPC demand by some of the Opposition parties, saying there should be some “evidence” or “blame” for initiating such investigation.
(With inputs from the PTI)