Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh strongly criticised the government’s demonetisation move, terming it a “case of organised loot and legalised plunder”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too attended the Upper House. While the government had hinted that the Prime Minister will be speaking on the floor of Upper House, the debate couldn’t go for long due to opposition protest.
The debate finally resumed on the floor of Rajya Sabha after repeated adjournments due to the protest by the opposition, which has been demanding Prime Minister Modi’s reply in the discussion.
Dr. Manmohan Singh, while stressing he doesn’t “disagree with the objectives” to fight graft and black money, called the implementation of the move to ban more than 80% of currency in circulation a “monumental management failure”.
“I do not disagree with these objectives,” he said in his opening remarks, as he went on to add, “These measures convinced me that the way the scheme has been implemented, it’s a monumental management failure.”
“PM Narendra Modi has said wait 50 days, it is short period, but for poor and deprived, even 50 days can bring about disastrous effects,” Dr, Singh said, adding, “People have deposited money in banks but cannot withdraw it… this alone is enough to condemn what has happened”.
He also underlined that the move of demonetisation will impact the GDP by 2% points, adding it is just an underestimation.
Dr. Singh, who had also served as the Governor of the Reserve Bank, cautioned the government over the repeated amendments of rules regarding exchange, deposit and withdrawal of the old currency notes.
“Change of rules every day reflects poorly on the Prime Minister’s Office and the Reserve Bank of India… I am very sorry RBI has been exposed to this kind of criticism but it is justified,” he said criticising the Centre.
Ending his speech, Dr. Singh urged the government to take immediate steps in order to ease what the opposition has been claiming an inconvenience caused to the public post the demonetisation move.
“I urge the Prime Minitser to find practical, pragmatic ways and take steps to provide relief to people suffering due to demonetisation,” the former PM added.
Prior to resumption of debate, the Upper house also saw heated exchange between the two sides as former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh stood up to speak at first instance.
Leader of the house Arun Jaitley insisted that debate on demonetisation should resume so that all the members can participate. Members from the ruling bench also raised objections and flayed the opposition for selectively disrupting the house proceedings.
However, with pandemonium continuing, Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien adjourned the house for a brief while.
As the house reassembled at noon, it resumed discussion with Dr. Manmohan Singh leading the Opposition charge.