Replying to the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address in Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Modi defended the demonetisation decision as a decisive fight against graft and black money. The debate elicited Opposition’s barbs against the BJP-led NDA government, primarily on the issue of demonetisation.
“Poor has suffered the most because of black money,” he said on the floor of the Upper House, lauding the decision of even breaking the back of counterfeit currency and terrorism.
The house witnessed a brief uproar with Congress members raising protest as Modi told that there were proposals of demonetising the currency in previous Congress-run government too, but then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was against it.
Attributing the note ban decision as one which has helped national security as well, he said, “700 maoists had surrendered in 40 days… Isn’t this house happy about the surrender of maoists?”
Terming it a “big decision” that can become a “case study” for economists around the world, the Prime Minister said there are yet no yardsticks to weigh the benefits resulting from the move. “No where in the world has it happened at this scale,” Modi said adding, “We all should be proud of it”.
The house once again broke into pandemonium when the Congress members protested over Prime Minister Modi’s remarks against former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, referring to alleged irregularities during his tenure. “So many scams emerged during the Congress regime, but Manmohan Singh ji has not a spot on him,” he said that provoked protest from the Congress members.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha during the Winter session last year, Dr. Manmohan Singh had termed the decision to demonetise currency as “monumental management failure” and the one that will push down the GDP by at least 2 percentage points.
Amid chaos and counter-protest by the treasury benches, the Congress members staged a walkout.
Continuing his speech in the absence of principal opposition party, Modi added in his reply that those who are opposing the decision of note ban today will soon understand the rationale and benefits and will laud our steps.
Referring to his government’s flagship Direct Benefit Scheme, he said, “Our efforts should be to take the benefits to the last person…” adding that digital initiatives taken by the government will help in achieving this target.
Over the Opposition’s allegations that government is compromising with the autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India, Modi said “such an institute should be kept away from politics”. The Prime Minister also referred to the excerpts of the book written by former RBI governor D Subbarao, where the latter alleged former Finance minister P Chidambaram of interfering.
“This government has worked a lot in improving governance in day to day sphere,” the Prime Minister said adding, “we have been able to fight corruption by bringing in transparency in the system and digitial initiatives”.
Wrapping up his reply to the debate, Modi spoke of “Ek Bharat, Shreshta Bharat” initiative, urging the members of the house to encourage more socio-cultural exchange between the people of states so that we all realise potential of each and every individuals.