New Delhi, Oct 25 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday hit out at the BJP over its move to observe November 8 as “anti-black money day”, calling it a “desperate move” to divert attention from the “blunder” of demonetisation and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi demit office on moral grounds.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Randeep Singh Surjewala said that “Modi-made disaster” of demonetisation followed by an “ill-conceived” Goods and Services Tax (GST) has decimated jobs and incomes in the country.
The two leaders targeted the Modi government over its decision on November 8 last year to junk high value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
Instead of apologising for the deaths of over 150 people standing in bank lines and the unprecedented strike on the livelihood of common Indians, “BJP is so drunk with power that it wants to celebrate the ‘demon of demonetisation. If morality is still a virtue in India’s polity, then it is time for PM Modi to introspect and demit office besides apologising for the unpardonable blunder,” Sharma said.
While the BJP has decided to observe November 8 as anti-black money day, the opposition parties announced on Tuesday that they will observe it as “Black Day” to protest against the “ill-conceived and hasty” decision of the government to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
Sharma demanded an investigation into the decision to junk currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
“Modinomics’ and ‘Jaitleynomics’ have destroyed India’s economic growth story. Jobs are in peril, businesses are shutting down, exports are falling, GDP is on a downward spiral, NPA’s have touched a whopping Rs 9 lakh crore and credit growth is at a low of 63 years,” Sharma said.
He alleged that the Prime Minister and Finance Minster Arun Jaitley “refuse to get down of the high horse of arrogance and autocracy.”
“Who is responsible for contraction of GDP from 9.2 per cent to 5.7 per cent resulting in loss of over Rs 3 lakh crore,” he asked.
Questioning BJP’s rationale of observing Nov 8 as anti-black money day, Surjewala said only Rs 16,000 crore of Rs 15.44 lakh crore in circulation at the time of demonetisation had not returned to the banks against estimates of about Rs 5 lakh crore.
“Will Modiji answer as to where has the black money gone, as almost the entire money has been re-deposited?” Surjewala asked.
They said the Prime Minister had announced that one of the aims of demonetisation was detecting fake money, but 99.998 per cent currency had been found to be genuine.
“The entire logic given by the Prime Minister has utterly failed. Fake currency in shape of the new Rs 500/Rs 2,000 notes has already been detected,” Surjewala said.
Referring to other stated aims of demonetisation including tackling terror and Maoist violence, the Congress leaders said there have been 40 major terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and 13 major attacks by Maoists in the past year.
They said the cost of printing new currency has been more than that of “savings” due to demonetisation.
The Congress leaders also questioned the government claims that demonetisation had encouraged digital economy, saying that digital transactions were 94 lakh crore in November 2016 and grew by “mere” 10 lakh crore in July 2017.
“The truth is that the biggest increase in digital transactions happened during Congress rule. Between 2011-12 to 2012-13, digital transactions jumped by 53 per cent,” Surjewala said.
He said the government had revealed that Rs 17,526 crore undisclosed income had been unearthed between November 2016 and May 2017 but “five times more black money was unearthed by Congress-led UPA government in its last two years”.
Surjewala and Sharma posed questions to the Prime Minister asking who was responsible for the deaths of 150 people in bank lines, confusion over rules for change of currency notes, loss of “over 3.72 crore jobs and entire savings of housewives” and “crash of business of small shopkeepers.”
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