Citizens Distress Echoes in Parliament: Opposition Slams Government
NEW DELHI: “You have pushed the entire nation off a moving train”: Sharad Yadav (Janata Dal(United)
“86% of the currency in use was scrapped with this one announcement by the Prime Minister”: Anand Sharma
“During the Emergency we took food to the political prisoners in jail, in this emergency the poor has been turned into a beggar, begging before the banks for his own money”: Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi party)
“If you have prepared for this for 10 months then why is PM Modi asking for 50 more days, clearly something is very wrong”: Mayawati (Bahujan Samaj party)
The entire Opposition came together to slam the government for the demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha today, with the debate continuing even as we report. It was however, Sitaram Yechury (CPI(M)) who took apart the four points raised by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to justify his sudden move---black money, fake currency, terror funding and corruption. (see below)...with specific facts. The arguments tore into the government justification for the move, and the insistence that only the ‘dishonest’ were adversely impacted.
The double standards of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also questioned by the Opposition leaders with specific examples. BSP leader Mayawati asked why PM Modi was silent over the huge wedding being organised for his daughter by BJP leader in Karnataka. Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati asked the Prime Minister to bring back that money from his former Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy to convince the people of his sincerity of purpose. She was particularly castigating against the government, accusing the PM of “emotional blackmail”, a charge levelled by other Opposition leaders as well who asked the Prime Minister to identify those who he claimed were threatening his life so that action could be taken.
BJP Minister Piyush Goyal who was fielded to initiate the debate for the government had little to say, except praise PM Modi for the bold move, and for the courage to act against corruption and black money. Opposition speakers did not bother to respond to Goyal, attacking the government for throwing the poor on to the streets, for the distress created by the government for the common person, for the farmers, the sick, the fishermen, the daily wagers, and as Mayawati said, for using these diversionary tactics to shift attention from the government’s inability to fulfil the promises raised by the Prime Minister during the last Lok Sabha polls.
Several Opposition leaders wondered at the PM modeling for private companies such as Jio before, and PayTM now.
PM Modi has claimed that the demonetisation would end black money, would push out the counterfeit notes from the economy, would stop terror funding, and would end corruption. The Opposition demolished these claims with Yechury, as pointed out earlier, being most specific and to the point. As he and other members from the Opposition benches argued:
The bulk of black money is in flow. At the most 5-6 per cent of the money is in cash. Demonetisation thus does not have a major impact on black money. The small fish is dying, the crocodiles are enjoying their lives.
The figures given out by the Indian Statistical Institute of Kolkata show that only 0.028 per cent is in fake currency. And what is the guarantee that counterfeit notes will not be printed for the Rs 2000 currency that has now been introduced into the market. In Bangalore, and in Punjab there are reports of fake Rs 2000 notes already. We all want to stop fake currency but is this move that has placed the poor of India into acute distress the way of doing it?
This was debated by Parliament under the last government as part of the discussion on the new law to combat terrorism. The bulk of terror funding comes through electronic transfers. All the stringent laws were thus introduced for opening accounts, for electronic transfers, to ensure that this kind of funding was checked and stopped. Does this government really believe that the terrorists outside Taj hotel during the Mumbai terror attack were carrying gunny bags of cash?
Does the government seriously think that corruption will end with this demonetisation. It will double with the Rs 2000 note. Corruption cannot be controlled unless the supply side of it is tackled. Services rendered, is the section used by corporates to legitimise corruption. Will the government lead the way by stopping the corporate funding of all political parties, of elections? By ensuring that state funding for elections where the corporates can contribute to the election commission, but ending all funding from big business for political parties. Why should a corporate be allowed to fund a politician? Clearly for big business it is an investment.