Demonetisation: Cong, NCP slam Centre, says 2016 move hit economy, hurt people

PTI, Jan 2, 2023, 4:06 PM IST

The Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress on Monday slammed the Narendra Modi government for demonetisation, their statements coming on a day when the Supreme Court upheld the 2016 move saying the decision did not suffer from any legal or constitutional flaw.

The two parties said the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre cannot absolve itself of blame for the distress the people of the country suffered due to the decision to scrap high-value currency notes.

”Despite the (SC) verdict, the BJP government must be held accountable for the downfall of the economy due to demonetisation and the loss of many lives due to the disastrous, ill planned process,” NCP national spokesperson Clyde Crasto said.

He said the move failed in exposing blast money as 99 per cent of demonetised notes came back to the banks.

”Where did the black money disappear. There is more currency in circulation in the market today than before. So what happened to digital payment if the idea was to minimize cash transactions,” Crasto questioned.

He said the move was ”bad and hasty” and broke the ”backbone of the economy, led to loss of human lives and hurt citizens in so many ways”.

Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said some questions raised in SC verdict were ”overarching”.

”It is inconsequential now to see if demonetisation was legal or not. The decision was inhuman, haphazard, high-handed and far away from meeting targets,” he said.

Sawant called demonetisation a ”manmade disaster” and claimed 98 per cent currency returned, more than 100 persons died and the economic growth nosedived from 8.1 per cent to 3.7 per cent in eight consecutive quarters, which indicates deep wounds inflicted on the lives of the people. Justice B V Nagarathna dissented from the majority judgment on the point of the Centre’s powers under section 26(2) of the RBI Act and said the scrapping of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 series notes had to be done through a legislation and not through a notification.

The bench, also comprising justices B R Gavai, A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said the notification dated November 8, 2016, which announced the decision to scrap the high-value currency notes, cannot be said to be unreasonable and struck down on the ground of decision-making process.

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