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4:08 pm - Sunday February 18, 2018

Double whammy of DeMo, GST damage economy, PM not understand pain of people: Rahul

Agencies, New Delhi

Charging Prime Minister Narendra Modi with inflicting colossal damage to the Indian economy through twin jolts of ‘demonetisation’ and ‘Goods and Services Tax’ (GST), Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said the PM has failed to understand the huge pain caused to the people through note-ban policy and the faulty implementation of GST.

Talking to reporters here after meeting with senior party leaders to draw a strategy to attack the Government on GST and and demonetisation, Mr Gandhi said, “Demonetisation was a disaster and November 8 was a sad day for India.

The Prime Minister’s decision to celebrate the anniversary of demonetisation shows that he has failed to understand the pain and sufferings of people caused by demonetisation and faulty implementation of the GST.’

Describing demonetisation as a ‘disaster’, Mr Gandhi said, ‘The Prime Minister caused a huge collateral damage to the economy through GST and demonetisation. Demonetisation was an out-and-out disaster. In fact, demonetisation were two torpedoes that inflicted colossal damage on the Indian economy.’

Expressing surprise at the decision of the Government to celebrate the anniversary of demonetisation as ‘anti-black money day’, Mr Gandhi said, ‘They are celebrating November 8. What is there to celebrate about. They need to understand the trouble they caused to the common man.’

Mr Gandhi said he held two meetings, including a meeting with the various General Secretaries of the party and a meeting with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior leader Ahmed Patel to discuss the adverse impact of demonetisaiton and the faulty implementation of the GST.

Mr Gandhi said at the meetings, he discussed with the party leaders the negative impact caused by demonetisation and GST on the economy. Slamming the BJP Government and the Prime Minister for faulty implementation of the GST, he said, ‘GST was a good idea but the Government’s faulty implementation has caused lot of pain to the people of the country.”

At the meeting with the general secretaries, Mr Gandhi chalked out plans for the first anniversary of demonetisation, which the party is observing as ‘Black Day’ across the country.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, AICC media incharge Randeep Surjewala, in a joint press conference with party spokesperson R P N Singh and Congress leader Manpreet Badal, said, ‘Demonetisation was the biggest scam of the century. India’s economy is still reeling under its ill effects.

The Congress has also decided to launch a nationwide protest on the first anniversary of this unmitigated disaster as ‘Black Day’ across India. Congress party workers will take to the streets in every district and state headquarters to reflect the pain, anger and agony of the people.

The theme of the nationwide protests will be ‘Bhugat Raha Hai Desh’ (India continues to suffer ).’ Mr Singh added that the same day a candlelight march would be carried out by the Congress workers at at all state and district headquarters at 2000 hours, the time at which the announcement of the demonetisation was made by the PM on November 8 last year, to commiserate with the pain and sufferings of the people due to the note ban policy.

Mr Surjewala said at a meeting with opposition leaders held by Mr Azad a few days ago, it was decided that the various opposition parties will organise protests at various district and state headquarters across the country on the first anniversary of demonetisation.

At today’s meeting by Mr Gandhi with senior party leaders, it was decided that Congress leadership and Congress Finance Ministers will espouse the pain and suffering of MSMEs, shopkeepers, traders, housewives and common man, both inside and outside GST Council.

‘The Congress will not rest until a resolution of these issues is done by the BJP Government to the satisfaction of business and services,’Mr Badal said. Mr Surjewala said at the meeting on the GST, Mr Gandhi and Dr Singh along with senior leaders P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, AICC General Secretaries/ In-charges and Finance Ministers of the Congress ruled states examined the mess created by Modi Government on account of inherent flaws in the design, architecture and rates of the GST.

‘’This has crippled Micro, Small and Businesses; stunted the economy and has led to insurmountable job losses. The meeting noted with grave concern the fact that GST compliances, in its present form, have become impossible for shopkeepers, traders and businesses, wiping out their life’s earnings.

Inherent flaws viz-a-viz excessive of goods of mass consumption have played havoc with the budget of ordinary housewives and common man. A Government mired by utter confusion and everyday shifting of goalposts has made life even more complicated for the citizens and businesses,’’ Mr Surjewala said.

Expressing surprise at the decision of the NDA Government to celebrate November 8 as ‘Anti-Black Money day’, Mr Surjewala said, ‘’Sadly, a Government drunk with power and blinded by arrogance has the audacity to celebrate the ‘Surgical Strike’ on India’s Economy.

People will never pardon BJP. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will go down in India’s history alongside Muhammad Bin Tughlak for the gross misadventure of demonetisation that wreaked havoc with India’s economy. No wonder that former PM, Dr Manmohan Singh has called it ‘organized loot and legalised plunder’.’’

Posing several questions to Mr Modi, he asked the Prime Minister where all the black money that he had promised would come to the country after demonetisation had gone. ‘’The RBI report reflects that out of 15.44 lakh crore money in circulation at the time of demonetisation on November 8, 2016; Rs 15.28 lakh crore have been received back. It means that only Rs 16,000 crore did not come back, so far.

On the contrary, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister had claimed that demonetisation would result in non-deposit of Rs 3-5 lakh crore of black money. On December 10, 2016; Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court that “The Government expects Rs 10 or 11 lakh crore out of a total of Rs 15 lakh crore.

Will Modi ji answer as to where has the black money gone, as almost the entire money has been re-deposited?’’ He also questioned whether the purported aim of the government of unearthing fake currency and curbing terrorism and naxalism through the Note ban policy been met.

‘’PM Modi had announced that detecting fake currency notes was the logic behind demonetisation. Even the Finance Ministry in its press release dated November 8, 2016 had stated detecting fake currency as the reason for demonetisation. RBI Report has revealed the falsehood of this claim also. Out of 15.28 lakh crore currencies received back, only Rs 41 crore currency was found to be fake i.e. 0.0013 per cent.

Once 99.998 per cent currency has been found to be genuine, and then the entire logic given by Prime Minister has utterly failed. Fake Currency in shape of the new Rs 500/Rs 2000 notes has already been detected. “Another reason given by Mr Modi for demonetisation was stoppage of terrorism and Naxalism. Facts belie this claim also.

Post-demonetisation, there have been 50 major terror incidents in J and K alone, in which 80 Jawans have been martyred and 51 civilians killed. Also, there have been 17 major naxal attacks after demonetisation, in which 69 security personnel were martyred and 86 civilians killed. What is the logic of Prime Minister’s claim is un-understandable in view of these figures?’’ Mr Surjewala said.

On claim by Mr Modi and MrJaitley that since November 2016 upto May 2017, a total Rs 17,526 crore has been detected as ‘Undisclosed Income’, Mr Surjewala said, ‘’They forget to mention that 5 times more ‘black money’ was unearthed by Congress-UPA in the last two years of the Congress Government.

During UPA rule, in 2013-14, Rs 1,01,183 crore were recovered as black money. In contrast, in 2015-16 Rs 20,721 crore was recovered as black money and Rs 29,211 crore unearthed as black money in 2016-17.

This actually proves that black money detection has gone down,’’ he said. ‘’It is now time that the BJP and the Prime Minister answer to the nation as promised by him publically and suffer the punishment in people’s court,’’ he said.

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