PM Modi should acknowledge demonetisation blunder on Nov 8: Manmohan Singh

Narendra Modi GST Himachal Pradesh Gujarat Manmohan Singh Jawaharlal Nehru National Textile Corporation

He also questioned Mr Modi's bullet train project, calling it "an exercise in vanity", and condemned attempts to label as anti-national all voices of dissent on the project.

Opposition parties are observing "black day" on Wednesday.

"Demonetisation has proved to be a mere disaster".

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday that some people have problems in accepting the fact that transactions through the digital mode and banking instruments, spurred because of demonetization, as compared to cash dealings, are going to witness a rapid growth.

Emphasizing the benefits of demonetisation-specifically, the message it sent out against black money-Jaitley reiterated that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had from its inception targeted black money by forming a special investigation team (SIT), amending the country's bilateral tax treaties and coming up with an anti-black money law.

Mounting a powerful defense of the demonetisation measure created to curb black money, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that note ban can not be a one-stop solution to cleanse all corruption, but it did give a "new direction" to economic and financial decisions. I remember feeling shocked when I heard the Prime Minister's announcement, and I wondered who advised him to inflict such a reckless step on our nation, and whether any considered thought went into it'.

Attacking the Centre for the faulty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, Dr Singh said, 'When undertaking endeavour of one nation one tax, if the PM had taken inspiration from the resolve of great Sardar Patel, the outcome would've been different'.

A year ago the government had scrapped Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes which has helped in eliminating fake notes, flushing out black money and reducing cash in circulation, Jaitley said.

"I repeat what I said in the parliament, this was organised loot and legalised plunder", he said further adding that the twin (demonetisation and GST) blow has broken the back of small businesses. "We never took such a drastic measure because in our reasoned analysis, the costs of demonetisation always exceeded the benefits substantially", he said. He said structural reforms like the note ban would have consequences. "Less cash in the system may not end corruption but makes corruption hard", he said, claiming terror funding had been "squeezed" after demonetisation. Even this is bound to be a gross underestimate as the pain of the informal sector is not adequately captured in the GDP calculation.

The Finance Minister said he was "more than satisfied" with the new direction the economy is moving. Instead of providing relief to the poor and the marginalized, farmers traders and the small and medium business, who suffered the repercussions of demonetization, the government is still claiming it to the right moves and that the Indian economy was on the right track and it furthermore to increase the suffering thrust the badly-designed GST. "Does questioning GST and demonetisation make one a tax evader?"

Trinamul Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also hit out at the government, saying demonetisation was a big scam.

"Did the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) stop to consider the wisdom of the Mahatma while asking the RBI Governor to sign on the dotted line [for demonetisation], or while implementing the GST in haste?" "In the first half of fiscal year 2016-17, India's import from China stood at Rs 1.96 lakh crore".

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