RS: Govt continues to face Oppn criticism on note ban

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Mumbai: People stand in long queues outside a bank to exchange their old Rs 500 and 1000 notes in Bhiwandi, Mumbai in Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016. Photo - PTI

FILE: Mumbai: People stand in long queues outside a bank to exchange their old Rs 500 and 1000 notes in Bhiwandi, Mumbai in Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016.
Photo – PTI

The centre once again came in for criticism over the demonetisation move with Opposition parties, including Congress and the Trinamool Congress, raising the issue of continuing restrictions on cash withdrawal from banks even after 90 days of demonetisation. They stressed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that hardships will last only 50 days.

TMC gave a notice under rule 267 for suspension of business of Rajya Sabha to discuss continuing restrictions, which found support from Congress and other opposition parties.

Raising the issue, TMC’s Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said 90 days have been passed since demonetisation was announced on November 8 last year. Referring to Modi’s speech at a public rally soon after the decision, Roy emphasised that the Prime Minister had asked for 50 days to restore normalcy and had “offered to undergo any punishment publicly if any shortcoming or hardships are found after December 30”.

“We don’t want Prime Minister to stand at any ‘chowk’ (a crossing) but cash withdrawal restrictions continue even after 90 days,” Roy said demanding that the government lift all restrictions so that people can use their money at their will.

Currently, cash withdrawal is limited to Rs 24,000 a week from saving bank accounts.

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Disallowing the notice, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said the issue has already been discussed for 12 hours. Roy, however, contested Kurien’s statement saying the discussion happened on the Motion of Thanks to President’s Address and demonetisation was not the subject matter.

The Deputy Chairman conceded that technically the motion did not mention this particular subject but the issue was touched upon by both sides during the discussion. “Therefore I am not allowing (the notice). I have rejected the notice,” he said.

At this point, Congress and other opposition members joined in to demand that they too should be allowed to speak on the issue. But Kurien disallowed it, leading to protests by the members.

Members continued to protest for a brief while but resumed their places as the House took up listed business.

(With inputs from PTI)