Demonetisation inspired by politics, not economics: Jairam Ramesh

2000-nNew Delhi, (IANS) The demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency is inspired by political and not economic considerations, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday.

Ramesh told the media that the reasons put forth by the Narendra Modi government in defence of demonetisation — it will fight black money, counter fake currency and end terror funding — do not hold much water.

“Firstly, the black money holders do not keep their illegal money in cash. They invest it in real estate and gold or put it in safe havens abroad. There is very little black money in the form of hard cash,” the former Union minister said.

“Secondly, there is not more than Rs 400-500 crore in fake currency in circulation, according to estimates, which is just 0.02 per cent of the total currency,” he added.

He said the government’s step to ban overnight the high-denomination notes just to counter a minuscule percentage of fake notes was “beyond comprehension”.

“It is clear this is a politically inspired move and not for economic reasons,” he said.

“The worst sufferers of this ‘Tughlaqastra’ (autocratic order) are the people employed in the unorganised sector and the rural and agricultural sectors,” he said, adding these sectors may not recover from this jolt for the next 12 months at least.

Ramesh dubbed as a “hoax” the government’s chest thumping that it took stern steps against black money and corruption while the earlier United Progressive Alliance government did nothing.

“During the UPA rule, the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented a White Paper on black money on May 26, 2012, in the Lok Sabha. This 110-page document has all the details about, and ways to fight, black money,” Ramesh said.

The Congress leader said while Rs 1,25,000 crore in black money was recovered during the two and a half years of the Narendra Modi government, the figure was Rs 1,31,000 crore during the last two years of the Congress-led UPA-II government.

“Why is the BJP silent over these two years? These figures are not concocted but came from answers given by the then Finance Ministers in Parliament,” Ramesh said.

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