On the second anniversary of the Demonetisation, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked PM Narendra Modi and the BJP government for their decision, terming the move as a 'disaster, tragedy' which costed the country over one and a half million jobs and led to the death of hundreds of people.
In a press statement released by the All India Congress Committee, its party president called demonetisation as 'tyranny' while also claiming that it was an 'ill conceived and poorly executed economic policy'.
"November 8th will forever go down in the history of India as a day of infamy. Two years ago, on this day, Prime Minister unleashed the tyranny of demonetisation on the nation. At eight that night, he appeared on television to deliver a unilateral announcement, that we now know didn't even have the support of his own economic advisors. With that one declaration of demonetisation, Mr. Modi took 86% of India's currency out of circulation, bringing our economy to a grinding halt, " the statement read.
"On the second anniversary of the Prime Minister's monumental blunder, the Government's spin-doctors, including our incompetent Finance minister, have the unenviable task of defending an indefensible criminal policy. India will discover, no matter how the government tries to hide it, that demonetisation wasn't just an ill-conceived and poorly executed economic policy with "innocent intent", but a carefully planned, criminal financial scam," the Congress President further added in his statement.
Throughout the day, the Congress party held protests against demonetisation across the country, which was supported by a number of opposition parties and leaders. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the first to attack the government on this matter, terming their decision as 'unorthodox, short-term economic measure'. He released a statement on the occasion:
Today marks the second anniversary of the ill-fated and ill-thought demonetisation exercise that the Narendra Modi government undertook in 2016. The havoc that it unleashed on the Indian economy and society is now evident to everyone. Notebandi impacted every single person, regardless of age, gender, religion, occupation or creed.
It is often said that time is a great healer. But unfortunately, in the case of demonetisation, the scars and wounds of demonetisation are only getting more visible with time. Beyond the steep drop in headline GDP growth numbers after demonetisation, the deeper ramifications of notebandi are still unraveling. Small and medium businesses that are the cornerstone of India’s economy are yet to recover from the demonetisation shock. This has had a direct impact on employment as the economy continues to struggle to create enough new jobs for our youth. The financial markets are volatile as the liquidity crisis wrought by demonetisation is taking its eventual toll on infrastructure lenders and non-bank financial services firms. We are yet to understand and experience the full impact of the demonetisation exercise. With a depreciating currency and rising global oil prices, macro-economic headwinds are also starting to blow now.
It is therefore prudent to not resort to further unorthodox, short-term economic measures that can cause any more uncertainty in the economy and financial markets. I urge the government to restore certainty and visibility in economic policies. Today is a day to remember how economic misadventures can roil the nation for a long time and understand that economic policymaking should be handled with thought and care.