Note ban was watershed moment in India's economy: Jaitley

Isaac Cain
November 8, 2017

Ahead of the note ban completing a year on November 8, Singh, who was in Ahmedabad to meet youths, traders and small and medium businessmen, stated that while demonetisation was a "monumental blunder", it was followed up by a "badly designed and hastily implemented GST". "I repeat, it was organised loot and legalised plunder", Singh said, referring to a similar statement in Parliament past year. "It has been suggested many times in the past as one of the methods to eradicate black money, but as a responsible government we never took such a drastic measure because in our recent analysis the cost of demonetisation always exceeded the benefits very substantially", the former PM said. "If the Prime Minister had paid attention to the Mahatma's talisman, the poor of India would not have suffered the way they did".

On the purpoted objectives of bringing a cashless economy, Dr Singh said, 'to promote a less-cash economy, coercive steps like demonetisation are ineffective. He said "organised loot" was the CWG scam, 2G scam and irregularties in allocation of coal blocks under the UPA government as he hit back at the Congress, saying: "The Congress and the BJP have a different viewpoint on what is ethical", as the former's primary objective is to serve the family while for the latter, it is to serve the nation.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the note ban move, Singh launched a fresh bout of criticism against Modi government to discontinue currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. Speaking at a Congress event in Ahmedabad, he emphasised how the two decisions are "twin blows to India's economy" that have pushed Indian farmers and entrepreneurs into despair, but benefited China. He pointed out: "Along with demonetisation, GST has sown a deep rooted fear of tax terrorism amongst the business community. At a time when the economy slowed down despite global conditions, tax terrorism has led to lowest growth in private investment in last 25 years", he stated. For that we have to achieve 35% of growth rate per year. "This is bad for the growth of India's economy".

"I began today with a heavy heart".

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The Congress had announced that it will observe November 8, the day demonetisation was announced a year ago as "black day". It has broken the back of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the textile hub of Surat alone where 60,000 looms have been discarded since July. "The impact of in the rest of the country is equally bad if not worse", Singh claimed. He blamed demonetisation for the increased imports from China. Undisclosed income admitted and detected, taken together, amount to Rs 29,213 crores, close to 18 per cent of the amount involved in suspicious transactions, he said. "These twin blows damaged India's MSME sector and our businesses had to turn to Chinese imports at the cost of Indian jobs".

"Is everyone who questions the outcome of demonetisation and GST a tax evader?"

'The bullet train project requires the creation of a parallel infrastructure while our existing passenger rail network is languishing and needs a dire infusion of funds to improve both safety and speed.

Tearing into the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the "attitude" of suspecting everyone to be a thief or anti-national just because they don't agree with you is "damaging to democratic discourse".

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