Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge | Photo: PTI
New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday alleged that demonetisation was the "biggest destroyer of livelihoods and small businesses", as it demanded a white paper from the Modi government on the 2016 move.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said it has been six years of "organized loot and legalized plunder", and claimed that it "killed aspirations" and plunged India's growth.
"Tribute to those 150 people who lost their lives due to demonetisation disaster. As we observe six years of this epic failure, it is important to remind the PM about the ill-conceived calamity which he thrust upon the nation," Kharge said.
"India's growth plunged, crores of jobs lost, small businesses destroyed, savings extinguished, the poor suffered the most. PM wanted 50 days...Nation has given him six years. But, none of the DeMo claims has been realized. Instead, people are still suffering!" the Congress president said in a series of tweets.
The Modi government claimed in the Supreme Court that Rs 3 to Rs 4 lakh crore of demonetised currency will not return to the system and that this black money shall be wiped off, Kharge said, adding that the reality was that 99.3 per cent of demonetised currency was back in the system.
"Black money thrives under PM Modi! Then, Modi government claimed that DEMONetisation shall eradicate fake currency in the system. Reality: Even last year, there was an overall increase of 10.7% in fake currency!" he said in another tweet.
"Huge influx of fake currency of Rs 500 notes and Rs 2000 notes - both newly introduced after DeMo! Remember, the hundreds of goalposts which Modi Govt was shifting to justify this act?" Kharge said.
The government then came with a fresh one of cashless economy but the reality is that cash available in public is 72 per cent higher than that in 2016, Kharge said, adding that surveys reveal 76 per cent of people still prefer cash.
"Modi govt's demonetisation was the biggest destroyer of livelihoods and small businesses," the Congress president alleged.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation, saying it was a deliberate move by "PayPM" to ensure two-three of his billionaire friends monopolize India's economy.
"Demonetisation was a deliberate move by 'PayPM' to ensure 2-3 of his billionaire friends monopolise India's economy by finishing small & medium businesses," Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Gourav Vallabh said Prime Minister Modi had surprised all by declaring that currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 were being scrapped on this day in 2016 and the decision triggered "panic, creating unspeakable problems linked to cash and destroying countless small and medium businesses".
It has been six years since independent India's "greatest organised loot", Vallabh said and accused the government of destroying the economy through demonetisation.
Cash in circulation today is Rs 30.88 lakh crore, while it was merely Rs 17.97 lakh crore in November 2016, he said.
"One of the stated objectives of the demonetisation was to promote digital transactions as the government felt too much cash was in circulation. The sharp jump in cash has clearly exploded that objective of the government -- sending it the way of its other goals like fighting corruption, weeding out fake notes and curbing terror funding," Vallabh said.
Black money didn't come out, only poverty came and the economy became weaker, not cashless, he alleged.
"Small businesses and crores of jobs were finished off, not terrorism," he said.
"The emperor demolished India's economy by giving the people illusions of a better outcome in 50 days," Vallabh said.
He said the Congress demands a white paper on demonetisation.
"The prime minister is yet to acknowledge this epic failure that led to the fall of the economy. He must acknowledge that," Vallabh said.
He said the government must share what plan it has for the unorganised sector and MSMEs who had suffered the most in this exercise.
Vallabh said the Congress also demands an employment creation plan, saying "we can't convert demographic dividend to demographic disaster".
He said the GDP is consistently falling post demonetisation.
"The terror activities are consistently increasing post demonetization; fake notes are increasing, India's corruption index is deteriorating; black money is at 14-year high in Swiss banks. People talk about cashless, less cash, the reality is that the currency in circulation has increased by 72 per cent in the last six years," he said.
"Modi ji, what have we achieved by this demonetization? Only one thing -- high unemployment by finishing the MSME sector and the unorganized sector forever," he alleged.
The Congress' attack came on the sixth anniversary of demonetisation. It was on November 8 in 2016 that Prime Minister Modi had announced the decision to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes with the ultimate aim of reducing corruption and black money in the economy. PTI