Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday attacked the Modi government over demonetisation and questioned how it was being called an “ethical step” when jobs were destroyed and several businesses had closed down.
In a series of tweets, the former Finance Minister attacked the government decision of banning Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes exactly a year ago.
“FM (Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) says demonetisation was ‘ethical’. Was it ethical to heap misery on millions of people, especially 15 crore daily wage earners? Was it ethical to destroy 15 lakh regular jobs during Jan-April 2017?” Chidambaram said.
“Was it ethical to force thousands of micro and small businesses to close down? Was it ethical to damage vibrant industrial hubs like Surat, Bhiwandi, Moradabad, Agra, Ludhiana and Tiruppur?”
“Was it ethical to give an easy way for converting black money into white as now discovered by the government?” he said.
Jaitley on Tuesday had called demonetisation an “ethical drive and moral step”.
The Congress leader asked if anyone can deny the fact that lives were lost, small businesses had closed and jobs were lost due to the November 8 decision of last year.
He also said that cash in the hands of the public will soon reach the level of November 2016, when demonetisation was announced.
“Cash with public Rs 15 lakh crore and increasing, will soon reach November 2016 level of Rs 17 lakh crore!”
He added that how much cash should be in flow is a decision that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should take, adding that artificial reduction in cash circulation led to “lower demand and lower growth”.
“In interest of transparency, Government/RBI should release RBI Board’s agenda, background note and Dr Raghuram Rajan’s note. If government is confident of its decision, why does it fear releasing these documents?” he said.
“Government says black money was laundered through note exchange after demonetisation. Who facilitated it? It was the same government,” he added.