Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 8
The Congress has mounted a sharp attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation exercise with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stating the havoc of the move on the Indian economy and society was now evident to everyone with its “scars and wounds...getting more visible with time”.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi described it as a “carefully planned, criminal financial scam” while the party suggested a probe into the exercise alleging it to be the “biggest scam” and predicting that for “this reckless decision, people would be handing down a punishment to PM Modi in elections”. The party announced a nationwide protest on Friday, coinciding with second anniversary of the move.
“Today is a day to remember how economic misadventures can roil the nation for a long time and understand that economic policy making should be handled with thought and care,” Manmohan Singh said.
Having characterised demonetisation as an “organised loot and legalised plunder”, the former PM emphasised it was “ill-thought”. Notebandi impacted every single person, he said.
Small and medium businesses that are the cornerstone of economy are yet to recover from the shock. This has had a direct impact on employment as the economy continues to struggle to create enough new jobs for youth.
The financial markets are volatile as the liquidity crisis wrought by demonetisation is taking its eventual toll on infrastructure lenders and non-bank financial services firms. The country is yet to understand and experience the full impact of the demonetisation exercise, he said, adding that with a depreciating currency and rising global oil prices, macro-economic headwinds are also starting to blow now.
“It is, therefore, prudent to not resort to further unorthodox, short-term economic measures that can cause any more uncertainty in the economy and financial markets. I urge the government to restore certainty and visibility in economic policies,” Singh said. Describing demonetisation as a tragedy, Gandhi said it was self-inflicted, suicidal attack that destroyed millions of lives. “Over 120 died in those queues. We must never forget them,” he said.