Free Press Journal

What penance will Narendra Modi initiate for ‘failed’ note-ban, asks Shiv Sena


Mumbai: In the wake of RBI’s report that said 99.3 per cent of the junked notes returned to the banking system, the Shiv Sena on Friday sought to know what penance Prime Minister Narendra Modi would undertake for plunging the country into “financial anarchy” through demonetisation.

The Sena said the note ban caused immense losses to the economy, affected the industry, caused the rupee to fall to its lowest level since Independence and made over a hundred people lose their lives, yet the country’s rulers were boasting about development. “Since demonetisation plunged the country into a financial anarchy, what penance will Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertake to keep his promise to the country? The note-ban exercise was carried out to gain popularity,” the Sena asked in an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ on Friday.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party was referring to Modi’s speech in Goa in November 2016, wherein he appealed to people to cooperate with him for 50 days (till December 30) and punish him if his intentions were wrong. “I have only asked for 50 days. Give me time till December 30. After that, if any fault is found in my intentions or my actions, I am willing to suffer any punishment given by the country,” he had said.

Stating that demonetisation spelt troubles for the country, the Sena said, “Decisions relating to the country’s economy should not be taken in a hurry. The note ban butchered the country’s economy. The Reserve Bank has also put a stamp of approval on this.” “Modi had said that demonetisation is meant to permanently bring to an end corruption, black money and fake notes. However, all these things increased in the last two years. The claims that the note ban will bring down the terror activities in Kashmir and peace will prevail in the Valley also proved to be hollow,” it said. It added that black money and fake currency could not be retrieved as 99.3 per cent currency returned to the banking system.

The BJP’s bickering ally said small-scale industries, housing and service sectors were devastated, farmers had to suffer immensely and people had to stand in queues outside banks for two months following the note ban, it said. “Over 100 people lost their lives in these queues,” the party claimed, adding that demonetisation caused the rupee to plunge to its lowest levels in 70 years. The exercise set the economy on fire. The exchequer had to bear a loss of Rs 15,000 crore to print new notes. Another Rs 700 crore were spent on recalibration of ATMs. Also, Rs 2,000 crore were spent on the distribution of new notes, the saffron party alleged.

“All of this is horrible. Yet, if the government is boasting about development, their mentality is like Nero, who played the fiddle while the Rome burnt,” it said. According to the Sena, demonetisation was a horrendous experiment that caused losses to the tune of Rs 2.25 lakh crore. “It amounts to looting the country’s coffers. The RBI Governor should be taken to court for not stopping this loot. While the job of the RBI is to safeguard the economy, it has become like an intoxicated monkey under the current regime,” the Sena said.

It is simple economics that nobody hoards black money and demonetisation cannot bring an end to black money. Those who did not understand it made light of former PM Manmohan Singh then. But the truth has come out now, the party added. The Sena’s fresh attack at the Modi government comes days after the RBI said in its final report that 99.3 per cent of the junked notes have returned to the banking system. Of the Rs 15.41 lakh crore worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation on November 8, 2016, when the note ban was announced, notes worth Rs 15.31 lakh crore returned.