Punjab’s local Bodies and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu Friday targeted the Centre, calling its demonetisation move in November 2016 a “well planned dacoity” that “broke the backbone of informal economy”. Sidhu claimed informal economy “accounted for 93 per cent of the country’s economy.”
Addressing a press conference here at his official residence, Sidhu claimed that “99.93 per cent” of the demonetised currency was deposited in the banks was in complete contrast to the Centre’s projection of demonetisation as a move against black money. Sidhu said PM’s promises were “as tall as bamboos, but hollow from inside”.
Sidhu said contrary to the claims made at the time of demonetisation when the move was justified saying that it would hit terrorism funding, fake currency circulation and bring out black money, there was “39 per cent rise in terrorism activities”, “36 million fake currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination were recovered and black money continued to be with absconders like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Mehul Choksi”.
“This is the true story of demonetisation,” Sidhu said, adding that it hit people like “postman, farmer, cobbler, hair dresser and teaseller”. He emphasised that the move had hit the “chah wale” (teaseller) hard. He said the way NDA government implemented demonetisation was unprecedented.
He said when demonetisation took place during former PM Indira Gandhi’s time, higher denomination currency notes were replaced with lesser denomination currency notes. Sidhu said NDA government replaced majority of the demonetised notes with higher currency notes, defeating the very idea of “checking the circulation of money”. Sidhu said “80 per cent of the currency notes which were in circulation were of Rs 2000.”
He also referred to demonetisation in few other countries where he said demonetised currency was replaced with smaller denomination notes.
Stressing that rich were getting richer and the poor the poorer, Sidhu said that as per Swiss National Bank data pertaining to 2017, there was
“Rs 7000 crore increase in deposits”. While all other clients from other countries registered three percent increase, the increase from India was 50 per cent, Sidhu said.
Congress stages protest
Punjab Congress observed ‘Black Day’ on Friday, holding district-level protests on the second anniversary of demonetisation.
Ludhiana district President Gurpreet Gogi said that industry and even agriculture has still not come back on track even after two years of this `major blunder’ in the history of Indian economy and many innocent people died while standing in the lines of ATM or even after the shock of demonetisation. He said that after demonetisation, GST was yet another shock given to masses within one year.
Gogi said,” PM Narendra Modi has never spoke about those who died while standing in ATM lines. He had told that all worries due to demonetisation will end after 50 days, but even after 2 years lives of many who had to shut down their business is not normal. PM has not yet given exact details of actual number of notes exhanged and hence questioning as what was the need of this blunder. “
Jaspal Singh Khangoora, Malkiat Singh Dakha, Leena Taparia- Mahila Congress district president, MLAs Lakhbir Lakha, Amrik Singh Dhillon and many others were present in this protest dharna. Congress leaders observed dharnas at district headquarters in all the districts of Punjab along with their supporters.