Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said the GDP of India would take a hit of at least one per cent if not two owing to the demonetisation move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We will all have to suffer because of the folly of one person of this country… The country will face a loss of Rs 1.5 lakh crore,” Chidambaram said. He was speaking at the Jan Vedna Sammelan organised by the Congress Party to highlight the hardships faced by people across the country.
Seeking to debunk the “exaggerated claims of the Prime Minister”, Chidambaram said instead of targeting black money and corruption, the government has targeted the poor. “The first case of corruption since Rs 2, 000 notes were introduced took place in Gujarat,” Chidambaram said.
“Have you heard the CEA make a statement? Has the banking secretary or the finance secretary made a statement on demonetisation? The only person who believes the GDP will not be affected is Finance Minister Arun Jaitley,” he said.
Chidambaram also questioned who would compensate those who have lost their lives and livelihoods due to the Modi government’s decision. “I demand that the government pay compensation to the daily wage workers who lost their livelihoods,” he said, adding that 45 crore people lost their livelihood for 70 days “due to one man’s decision.”
Chidambaram also questioned the government over its claim that a Cabinet meeting took place on November 8 before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the move to demonetise. “We are yet to see a cabinet note of the meeting that took place, there has to be some record of the meeting taking place.” He also questioned how the Centre was confident that the RBI would agree to its suggestion of demonetisation while claiming that it is always the RBI that suggests and not the government. “They sent a suggestion on November 7 and announced on November 8.”
On the government’s move to push for a digital, cashless economy, Chidambaram said across the world people are moving towards cash and it’s the opposite in India. “In Germany and Austria, 80 per cent of the transactions take place in cash. Australia sees 60 per cent of transactions in cash. In India it is 94 per cent…. Modi has heaped misery on crores of people.”