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In Rajya Sabha, Opposition rails against demonetisation

To end the disruption caused by note ban, Budget needed to address the issue with capital infusion, say Opposition leaders

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 7, 2017 3:03:42 am
 Demonetisation, Parliament, debate over demonetisation, budget session, congress, bjp, Rajya Sabha, President's address, PM Modi, Sitaram Yechury, India news, Indian Express A scene from Upper House of the Parliament

OPPOSITION PARTIES slammed the demonetisation decision all over again in the Upper House on Monday, saying the decision had resulted in job losses, economic slowdown, agricultural distress and overall misery for the people.

The decision to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was the focus of the speeches of most of Opposition leaders in Rajya Sabha who participated in the debate on motion of thanks to the President’s address to Parliament. They singled out demonetisation as an example of government’s inefficiency, lack of concern for farmers and the poor, and its sympathy for corporate interests. “Never before has a government decision produced so many dalals (brokers) as the demonetisation decision,” Sharad Yadav of JD(U) said.

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Calling demonetisation the “biggest ever disruption”, Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M) said: “None of the four things the Prime Minister had cited as the reasons for demonetisation have been achieved. In fact, more wrongdoing has got endorsed. All sorts of black money and counterfeit currency have now got legalised. The most common denominator for generating black money has now been increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000.”

Yechury claimed the government’s repeated emphasis on digital economy was an attempt to benefit multinational, US-based credit card companies.

Ahmed Patel of the Congress said demonetisation was the “biggest ever scam” that needs immediate investigation. “Initially we believed the Prime Minister when he said he was trying to fight black money and terror funding…we supported his action…but look what happened. The entire country was put in line, and no black money was recovered…. Terrorism (also) did not stop,” Patel said.

His party colleague Rajiv Shukla said it is clear by now that demonetisation did not have any impact in curbing black money or terror funding. “The only objective it has achieved is in creating problems for the common man,” he said.

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Sanjay Seth of Samajwadi Party claimed that UP was affected the most by demonetisation due to its population and size. He criticised the central government for going ahead with it without any planning.

Ahmed Patel also accused the government of practicing a “politics of revenge and hate” with attempts to erase the names of Congress icons from policies and programmes. He charged the government of manipulating appointments to probe agencies.

Yechury said the disruption caused by demonetisation required to be negated by a massive infusion of government capital into the economy, but the Budget was aiming to achieve the opposite. “The Economic Survey also recommends that public spending needs to be increased to soften the impact of demonetisation. But what has the government done in the Budget? Instead of increasing public spending, it has contracted it,” Yechury said.

Ruckus in RS over Bastar ‘terror’

Rajya Sabha on Monday witnessed a minor war of words between the government and Opposition benches after Congress member B K Hariprasad demanded dismissal of the BJP government in Chhattisgarh over atrocities against tribals and locals allegedly by security forces. Quoting a report of The Indian Express on the rape of 16 tribal women in Bastar region, Hariprasad said that there is no governance, except on the national highways, in the Bastar region.

Countering Hariprasad, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that the Zero Hour is not meant to defame and condemn the forces. While Akali Dal’s Naresh Gujral said the Opposition cannot demoralise the forces, CPM member Tapan Sen said, “The force is surely playing a role there (extremism-affected areas).”

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