It’s assault on the poor: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Former finance minister P Chidambaram had described the demonetization move as a savage assault on the poor people of the country. He told the media persons on Tuesday that about 40 crore  people in the country had lost their daily earnings due to this ill-advised move and what they lost for more than a month can never be compensated.

Saying that the Congress party has no quarrel with the declared objectives of demonetization move, the implementation has resulted in an unending misery for the downtrodden and lower middle class of the country. He said it would take another seven months to make cash-flow easy in the country. There is no answer to the most pertinent question, why did the government print two thousand rupee notes. Has it ended black money? Has it checked terrorism? Chidambaram said hordes of two thousand rupee notes were recovered from black money holders like Sekhar Reddy in Chennai and a lawyer in Delhi. It is the case all over the country. On the bodies of two terrorist who were killed recently in Kashmir two thousand rupee notes were found. So, both the objectives were not achieved, argued the former finance minister.

“At the outset, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on November 8 the demonetization step was being taken to check black money, counterfeit currency and terrorism. On November 27, the PM gave two speeches. He mentioned, in his speeches, black money nine times and cashless transactions 54 times. Goal posts have been shifting.  All over the world, small value transactions take place in cash and high value transactions in digital. “Show me a country in the world where every transaction happens in digital mode,” he asked. It is not just possible in India where the Internet and power connectivity is lacking in rural areas.

The Supreme Court has already questioned the government as to why the District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) have been excluded from the list of banks that were supplied with new currency. Chidambaram said, “The position of the government is that DCCBs are corrupt and undependable. There are very good DCCBs in Maharashtra and elsewhere which came out clean in every audit. The government had deliberately preferred the Urban Cooperative Banks. Not supplying new currency to DCCBs is yet another form of attack on the poor.”

Withdrawing high denomination currency is done in many European countries, but not the way India is trying to do. They withdrew over a period of time. India also could have withdrawn thousand rupee notes in a year’s time, Chidambaram opined. He referred to the interview given by RSS leader Gurumurthy to India Today on Monday in which the latter said that the two thousand rupee notes would be withdrawn in a phased manner.

The very idea of printing two thousand rupee notes is wrong, Chidambaram commented. The government should not have withdrawn Rs 500 notes, which is common man’s currency in the country. Chidambaram said the prime minister should have consulted former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha. After all, they would not have revealed the secrets, he said.

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