New Delhi: Alleging that more than 65 people have lost their lives courtesy the demonetisation drive, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday said monumental mismanagement has been undertaken in implementation of the same, adding this will weaken economic growth.
Dr Singh asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find out a practical and pragmatic solution to prevent this distress that has been caused to the common public.
Dr Singh, who led the opposition charge in the Rajya Sabha, highlighted the problems of demonetisation.
“It is important to take note of the grievances faced by the people over demonetisation in the country. The PM has said that we should wait for 52 days, it is a short period. But for those who are poor and deprived, those 50 days can bring about a disastrous affect in the country,” said Dr Singh.
The former prime minister said demonetisation can weaken and erode the confidence in the currency and banking system in the country.
“I would want to know from the PM the names of any countries he may think of where people have deposited money in the banks, but are not allowed to withdraw their money. This alone I think is enough to condemn what has been done in the name of demonetisation,” said Dr Singh.
“In my opinion this scheme of demonetisation, the way it is being implemented will hurt the agriculture growth in our country, will hurt small industry, will hurt all those people who are in the informal sectors in the economy,” he added.
Dr Singh further said the national income that is the GDP of the country can decline about two percent as a result of this move.
“This is an underestimate and not overestimate, therefore, I feel that the PM must come with some constructive proposal of how we can implement this scheme and at the same time prevent this distress that has been caused to the common people. It is no good that every day the banking system comes with modification of the rules, the conditions with which the people can withdraw money that reflects very poorly on the PM’s office, on the FM’s office and on the RBI,” said Dr Singh.
“I am very sorry that the RBI has been exposed to this sort of criticism which I think is fully justified,” he added.
The Rajya Sabha earlier witnessed noisy scenes after the Opposition demanded that Prime Minister Modi should be present in the House during the resumed discussion.
Leader of the House Arun Jaitley objected to the decision of the Deputy Chairman to allow the former prime minister to speak in the Zero Hour. He said if Dr Singh wants to speak on demonetisation, then the House should resume the discussion. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi suggested that the House first take up the discussion and Dr Singh can participate.
The Lok Sabha also witnessed uproarious scene as soon as the Question Hour began. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge stuck to his party’s demand to discuss the demonetisation issue suspending the Question Hour. Later, opposition members including Congress, TMC, SP and NCP trooped into the well shouting slogans.