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RATAN TATA, head of the $103-bn Tata group, on Thursday asked the government to consider “special relief measures similar to those employed at times of national calamities” for the poor to tide over the “great hardship” caused by the “note ban implementation”.
“While the government is doing its best to increase the availability of new currency notes, it may be worthwhile to consider special relief measures similar to those employed at times of national calamities to serve the poorer segment of the population for their daily needs and for enabling emergency healthcare/medical treatment in smaller hospitals,” said Tata, the interim chairman of Tata Sons, in a statement posted on his official Twitter account.
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“Such emergency measures will be greatly appreciated by the distressed segment of the population as it would exhibit that the government cares and has not forgotten the needs of the common man at this moment of transition during the implementation of such an important demonetisation programme,” he wrote.
On Tuesday, Tata had hailed the government’s move on Twitter. “Demonetisation of old currency notes by the Modi govt is a bold act that will wipe out black money and corruption. It deserves our support,” he had tweeted.
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But on Thursday, Tata, who is in the midst of a corporate battle with former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry, began his statement by saying, “The present note ban implementation is said to be causing great hardship to the common man, particularly relating to medical emergencies, major surgical interventions and the procurement of medication at many hospitals in smaller towns across the country.
Hardship is also being experienced by the poorer people due to the shortage of cash to meet the daily household needs for food.”
Tata is the chairman of two of the largest private sector-promoted philanthropic trusts in India — Sir Ratan Tata Trusts and Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. He is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry; president of the Court of the Indian Institute of Science; and, chairman of the Council of Management of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
Tata also serves on the board of trustees of Cornell University and the University of Southern California.