Hoarders have men and means to exchange old currency for new, poor will lose by selling at lower rates
New Delhi : The Bhartiya Janata Party on Thursday flayed the move to withdraw pre-2005 currency notes from circulation from April 1 as a “demonetisation” to hit the poor, claiming that it will hit the illiterate and poor with small savings who have no bank accounts and store their money in cash.
Its spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi flayed the government’s claim to curb the black money with this measure as she said those guilty will convert it into the new currency notes, preventing once again an estimate of the quantum of black money in circulation.
She challenged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make public how many currency pieces will be affected, how many in rural India, and an estimate of this measure on the poor. “This is an unjustified attack on poor people. A clearly anti-poor step,” she told a press conference here.
“This policy of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is only meant for blue blood and not for the sweating red bloodied toiling millions. It is not going to affect those who have numbered accounts in Swiss accounts, but affect those who do not have any bank account even in India. It is not going to affect those who have their savings in foreign currency but affect those who save every penny in Indian Rupees,” she said.
“All the black money holders will legally convert their tender with no difficulty because they have the resources to hire people to sort their cash,” Lekhi affirmed, fearing that the “demonetisation” will give a handle to middlemen to charge hefty fee to the illiterate and old people living in remote areas to convert their old currency notes while the shopkeepers will also exploit them after April 1, saying the old note can only be accepted at a discount. “It is an ingénuous attempt to create confusion among the experts, thus the retrieval of black money become an impossibility,” Lekhi said, pointing out that the government deliberately made no real efforts to retrieve the black money, specially from abroad, and set up three committees as the multiplicity of committees messed up definition, estimate and the mode or retrieval of the black money.
Noting that reports of these committees set up in March 2011 are not available till , she said the government opposed constitution of a Supreme Court-monitored SIT (special investigation team) to look into the issue of black money outside the country and it is in this context that no action by the present government need to be appreciated.