In a rebuttal to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s criticism of the move to demonetise currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations, Union Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal questioned Singh Saturday over the coal allocation scam during his tenure.
“The former PM did not see organised loot in the coal scam, a ministry under his portfolio, but he sees so in our move to uproot black markets, corruption and terrorism. I think it does not look appropriate for the former PM to use the term ‘organised loot’,” the minister said. The Union minister was addressing an audience comprised of businessmen, stock brokers, heads of various business associations and members of the press, over the ‘future of Indian economy after demonetisation’ at the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Singh, in his Rajya Sabha address Thursday, had called demonetisation an “organised loot and legalised plunder” and the implementation of the move a “monumental mismanagement”.
Goyal also slammed the former PM over his evocation of British economist John Maynard Keynes in the Rajya Sabha. “He quoted John Keynes, saying that in the long run we are all dead. But Keynes also said that when things (sic), I change. What will you do?” the Union minister said.
“When the country is moving towards being corruption-free and honest, then I want to be a part of it. You decide whether you want to be a part of that change or you want to continue in the same antediluvian way of life. On our part, we have made an honest attempt (to remove black money and corruption) and I implore you all to join this attempt and strengthen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arms,” the minister added.
Goyal hailed the government’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, saying the decision had been taken very seriously and after much deliberation, in contrast to what the Opposition claims. “An SIT on black money was formed in our first cabinet meet itself. The Supreme Court had ordered to do so too. Demonetisation was not really a surprise move, if you consider the steps BJP has been taking over the last two years. It is a part of a series of steps,” he said.