West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday slammed the BJP-led central government over the Reserve Bank of India’s decision to withdraw Rs 2,000 currency notes from circulation, describing it as a “billion dollar ‘dhoka’ (fraud) to a billion Indians”.
She also said that the sufferings people have endured due to demonetisation of 2016 can’t be forgotten. ”So it wasn’t Rs 2,000 dhamaka but a billion dollar dhoka (fraud) to a billion Indians. Wake up my dear brothers and sisters. The suffering we have endured due to demonetisation can’t be forgotten and those who inflicted that suffering shouldn’t be forgiven,” Banerjee said on Twitter.
Her party Trinamool Congress also lambasted the BJP-led union government over the RBI’s move to withdraw Rs 2,000 currency notes from circulation, asserting that this ”arbitrary” decision will harm the country’s economy as the demonetisation of 2016 had done.
The CPI(M) and the Congress also claimed that the introduction of the Rs 2,000 note helped some people stash black money.
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Unlike the November 2016 shock demonetisation when old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were invalidated overnight, the Rs 2,000 notes will continue to be legal tender till September 30, the RBI said earlier in the day.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, ”We have seen how the country’s people faced hardships during the demonetisation in 2016. It has destroyed the country’s economy and claimed several lives. The BJP again wants to thrust similar hardships on the people through its decision to withdraw Rs 2,000 notes.” The TMC leader said the BJP had turned the country’s economy into a ”child’s play”.
”High-value notes were demonetised (in 2016) with a claim that that it would curb black money. But in reality, it helped some people convert black money into white. Demonetisation destroyed the country’s economy and small businesses and a lot of people lost their jobs,” he said.
The TMC supremo had then opposed the Centre’s decision.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that the demonetisation of 2016 was a curse for the Indian economy.
“It was forced on the people and left the economy in the doldrums. Several people had to pay with their lives for the eccentricity of the Narendra Modi government,” said Chowdhury, also the West Bengal Congress president.
He said the Congress had suggested that the government should have announced a date and time for demonetisation so that people can be prepared for it.
“Our former PM and renowned economist Manmohan Singh had predicted that the economy would suffer 2 per cent of the GDP because of the demonetisation and it was proved right. Now, today’s decision (to withdraw Rs 2,000 notes from circulation) won’t help the economy either,” Chowdhury said.
It was promised by PM Modi then that demonetisation would curb black money and fake currency notes and help curtail terrorist activities on Indian soil, he said.
“However, introduction of the Rs 2,000 note actually helped some people stash black money,” the Congress leader claimed.
CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said that the Narendra Modi government decided to withdraw Rs 2,000 currency notes just over six years after introducing it.
”It is an astonishing decision and the Prime Minister does not seem to have any explanation for it,” he said.
Chakraborty claimed that the demonetisation of 2016 might have helped unscrupulous people rather than achieving the stated goal of curbing black money.
The RBI did not say what would be the status of Rs 2,000 notes in private hands after September 30. Earlier, the government had made it an offence to hold the demonetised Rs 500 and 1,000 notes after the expiry of the deposit deadlines.
Banks will exchange the Rs 2,000 notes till September 30 and people holding notes beyond the specified date will not invite legal action, sources said.