People supporting demonetisation: Piyush Goyal in Rajya Sabha

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Anand Sharma
Deputy Leader of Opposition Anand Sharma

The issue of demonetising Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes took the centrestage in Rajya Sabha with Deputy Leader of Opposition Anand Sharma asking the Centre why “were all Indians being criminalised” by the move.

Replying on behalf of the Centre in Rajya Sabha, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that demonetisation was a historic move. The people of India are fully supporting the government’s demonetisation move.

The government never referred to it (demonetisation) as a surgical strike. If the Congress calls it one, then the government would consider it an endorsement of demonetisation. One should recall that the PM was elected on a plank to check corruption and black money, he added.

Stating that Sharma’s knowledge of economy was weak, Goyal said that measures such as these were needed from time to time to expose black money.

Earlier, the Congress asked the government for a rollback of the move in the best interests of the nation.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned by a day after members maintained a two-minute silence for those who had passed away.

“Around 86% of the currency in the markets were those notes which were scrapped by November 8 announcement,” Sharma said.

“I condemn the PM’s statement made in Goa for mocking the people standing in queues. He must tender an unconditional apology for that,” said Sharma, as per media reports.

The Prime Minister said I have given up everything, but goes all around the world. What kind of a sacrifice is this?

The government has no right to limitations on withdrawal of cash. If the government has taken out so much money, why wasn’t the replacement available immediately, asked Sharma.

The farmer has many responsibilities; he has to purchase seeds, pesticides and manure. On top of these if he isn’t paid, how can he earn if he stands in a queue? Asked Sharma.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the media, made a last-minute pitch for the Opposition’s co-operation to achieve a ‘fruitful’ session’.

The government was willing to discuss all issues and questions raised by the Opposition patiently, the Prime Minister said.

Hoping for a fruitful and successful session, Modi said the the GST Bill was passed in the Monsoon session of Parliament with cooperation of the Opposition. He also raised the issue of state-funding of elections and asked the parties to debate the issue.