Leading the Opposition’s attack against demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 24 called it a case of ‘organised loot’ and ‘legalised plunder’ of the country in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The debate in the Upper House started when Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the House.
“In the process of demonetisation monumental mismanagement took place. Even those who say these steps will cause distress, in the short run, and beneficial in the long run reminds me of John Keynes’ words, ‘In the long run we are all dead’,” said Singh.
Attacking Modi for giving 50 days to cleanse the nation, Singh chose to raise the difficulty faced by the common man and the death of 60 to 65 people standing in serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs.
“But what about the poor and deprived sections, for them 50 days is a torture that can bring about disastrous effect. I say, with all responsibility, that we don’t know what the final outcome will be ,” said Singh.
Highlighting that demonetisation will hurt the agricultural growth and small industry, Singh said, “This alone is enough to condemn what has been done in the name of greater good for the people. “
“The areas and sectors that have suffered the most are small businesses, farming and cooperative banking.”
Negating the forecast that GDP will decline by 2 percentage points due to demonetisation, Singh said, “The GDP of the country can decline by about 2 percentage points as a result of what has been done. This is an underestimate. I hope that the prime minister will help us find practical ways to give relief to people who are suffering.”
Singh also hit out at the government over new modifications done everyday in the banking process saying, “It is no good that everyday banks come with modifications of the rules under which people can withdraw money. This reflects very poorly on the PMO, Finance Minister’s Office and the RBI.”