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‘Tughlaqi blunder’: Sonia Gandhi hits out at Centre on third anniversary of demonetisation

FE Online
demonetisation, narendra modi, Sonia Gandhi, NDA, Naxalism, terrorism, note bandi date, note bandi

On the third anniversary of demonetisation, Congress president Sonia Gandhi took a jab on the government saying that the nation will never forget or forgive the "Tughlaqi blunder". She also held the Modi government responsible for ‘taking away livelihoods through demonetisation’.

Terming it as a "preposterous measure fuelled by false propaganda," she said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet ministers never took responsibility for the "faux pas" that took over 120 lives across the country. She said, "Demonetisation caused untold damage to innocent and trusting countrymen and medium and small businesses," and that it summarises the Modi government’s approach to governance.

Gandhi also said that PM Modi and his colleagues stopped talking about demonetisation since 2017 and is hoping that the country will forget about it. "Congress will make sure that the nation or history does not forgive or forget the move because we serve in the ‘National Interest’," she added.

In the second year of their first term, the NDA government declared demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8, 2016, which took off circulation 86 per cent of all cash in the system, overnight. For the following several days, people had to line up in ATMs and banks for hours to withdraw notes or change the new notes.

According to the Congress chief, demonetisation is the most appropriate metaphor for the BJP’s "ill-conceived governance model". "The prime minister and his colleagues never once took responsibility for the decision, or even acknowledged it, despite saying he would hold himself accountable," she added.

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PM Modi demonetised the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes saying that it would wipe out black money, eliminate fake currency and sweep out issues like terrorism and Naxalism. However, "according to government data, terror and Naxalite activities have witnessed a rise after demonetisation and currency in circulation has actually seen a 22 per cent increase over the pre-demonetisation level," she claimed.

"The government told the Supreme Court that Rs 3,00,000 crore worth black money will be purged, as there would be no way of returning it to the system. The prime minister subsequently added the objective of the abolition of cash currency usage and to replace it with a digital economy," Gandhi said. However, even three years later, he has failed on all these counts, she jibed.

The Congress chief claimed that RBI has confirmed that 99.3 per cent of all the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes have been deposited in the system, with zero windfall gain. "Fake notes turned out to be a miniscule and negligible percentage of the notes in circulation (again, as per the RBI)," she added.

Sonia Gandhi said that the question, every Indian should ask is - "What did the Demonetisation achieve?"

Saying the move has been acknowledged as "herculean blunder" by several independent economists, she added, "It wiped out nearly one crore jobs from the economy, took unemployment rate to a 45 year high, caused the slump in GDP growth and made India’s international rating to be moved from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’."