‘Scars of note ban more visible now’

Manmohan Singh  

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the “scars and wounds” from the government’s move in November 2016 to abruptly withdraw high-value currency notes were getting more visible with time.

In a statement, Dr. Singh said the country was yet to understand and experience the full impact of the demonetisation that affected every single person regardless of age, gender, religion, creed or occupation.

“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 unravelling,” the former Prime Minister asserted.

‘SMEs yet to recover’

Observing that small and medium businesses, which were the cornerstone of the economy, were yet to recover from the demonetisation shock, Dr. Singh said: “This has had a direct impact on employment as the economy continues to struggle to create enough new jobs for our youth.” The former Prime Minister said the liquidity crisis brought about by demonetisation was taking a toll on infrastructure lenders and the non-banking financial services sector.

“With a depreciating currency and rising global oil prices, macro-economic headwinds are also starting to blow now,” he said. “Today, is a day to remember how economic misadventures can roil the nation for a long time and understand that economic policy-making should be handled with thought and care.”

Nationwide protests

The Congress also announced plans for nationwide demonstrations in front of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) offices on Friday to mark the second anniversary of the note ban.

Congress’s publicity committee headed by Anand Sharma also released two short documentaries that would form a part of the party’s 2019 campaign against the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

‘People’s money’

Mr. Sharma said that Mr. Modi had tarnished India’s image globally by calling the demonetised currency as black money.

“This is the peoples’ money, hard-earned money of the Indian citizens. But it [the government] tarnished the image of India globally that the Indian economy runs on black-money,” Mr. Sharma told reporters at a briefing. “No Prime Minister anywhere in the world in the history of democracy has insulted his country or people in this manner,” he said.