Demonetization Did Not Cause Social Unrest in India: Arun Jaitley

A CPI (M) march against demonetization in India. Photo courtesy: CPI (M)
A CPI (M) march against demonetization in India. Photo courtesy: CPI (M)

The Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley said Sunday that his government’s decision to demonetize high denominational currency notes has not caused any social unrest in the country, as it is being projected by the opposition parties.

Jaitley claimed that all opinion polls conducted by independent media organizations have shown that an overwhelmingly large percentage of people have supported the government’s decision.

He, however, did not give the details of “opinion polls” and their methodologies for carrying out the surveys about demonetization.

“The opposition disrupted a full Session of Parliament. Their protests have been ineffective. Their exaggerated claims on the disruption of the economy have proved wrong,” Jaitley said in his article.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had demonetized currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 on November 8 with the belief that his decision will help check corruption in the country.

Nobel laureate and world’s top economist Professor Amartya Sen says Modi’s demonetization decision has showed authoritarian nature of the Indian government.

Similarly, former Prime Minister of India and leading economist Dr. Manmohan Singh said in India’s Parliament that Modi’s demonetization scheme is a case of organized loot and legalized plunder.

He reminded Modi of the unfortunate deaths that have already taken place in India because Modi government is not allowing people to withdraw their own money from banks.

However, Jaitley attacked the major opposition party Congress, saying “it is a tragedy that a national party like the Congress decided to adopt a political position, opposing both technology, change and reforms. It sided with black money friendly status quo.”

Jaitley suggested that there was a marked difference in the approach of the Prime Minister Modi and his opponents.

“The Prime Minister was being futuristic, and thinking of a more modern, technology driven cleaner economy. He is now speaking of cleaning the political funding systems,” Jaitley said, adding that his opponents want a cash dominated, cash generating and cash exchange system to continue.

He further suggested that the difference between Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was clear – the Prime Minister was thinking of the next generation while Rahul Gandhi was only looking at how to disrupt the next Session of Parliament.

Defending the demonetization decision, the Minister said that the Narendra Modi government had absolute clarity from day one that it would move against the shadow economy and black money.

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Rakesh Raman