PM Modi Unleashed Tax Terror in India: Says Manmohan Singh

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Dr. Manmohan Singh

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

By Rakesh Raman

Former Prime Minister (PM) of India Dr. Manmohan Singh said today that PM Narendra Modi has spread an atmosphere of financial terror in the country with the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and imposition of demonetization.

Dr Manmohan Singh was addressing a large business community in Gujarat. “I start my address by invoking the memory of more than a hundred people who lost their lives last year due to demonetization,” he said in his opening remarks.

“Tomorrow will mark exactly one year since the disastrous policy of demonetization was thrust on the people of India. I say it with immense pain and a sense of deep responsibility, that the 8th of November was a ‘Black Day’ for our economy, and indeed our democracy,” Dr Singh said.

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“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,” Dr Singh said.

Modi had demonetized currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 on November 8 last year with the belief that his decision will help check corruption and stop the flow of black money in the country.

But Modi’s despotic decision has caused a total chaos and corruption has, in fact, increased manifold in India. Nobel laureate and world’s top economist Professor Amartya Sen says Modi’s demonetization decision has showed the authoritarian nature of the Indian government.

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Similarly, Dr Singh who is a leading economist had said in India’s Parliament that Modi’s demonetization scheme is a case of “organized loot and legalized plunder.” He repeated this phrase today in Gujarat.

Dr Singh also said that none of the stated demonetization objectives of eliminating black money, terror financing and counterfeit currency have been met.

“Demonetization has proved to be mere bluster to reap political dividends while the real offenders have escaped. I repeat, this was organised loot and legalised plunder,” he said.

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“Instead of providing relief to the poor and marginalized, farmers, traders, and the small and medium businesses who suffered the brunt of demonetization, the (Modi) government chose to inflict on them a badly designed and hastily implemented GST,” Dr Singh continued. “This twin blow is a complete disaster for our economy.”

He explained that China is benefiting from Modi’s reckless financial decisions including demonetization and GST.

In the first half of FY 2016-17, India’s imports from China stood at Rs. 1.96 lakh crore. During the same period in FY 2017-18, the imports from China increased to Rs. 2.41 lakh crore.

“This unprecedented increase of imports by more than Rs. 45,000 crore, which is a 23% increase in a year, can be attributed largely to demonetization and GST. These twin blows damaged India’s MSME sector and our businesses had to turn to Chinese imports at the cost of Indian jobs,” Dr Singh said.

Along with demonetization, he said, GST has sown a deep-rooted fear of tax terrorism among the business community. At a time when the economy has slowed down considerably, despite favourable global macroeconomic conditions, the fear of tax terrorism has eroded the confidence of businesses to invest.

As you know, Dr Singh said, the growth in private investment is at a 25-year low. This is terrible for India’s economy, he added.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist and social activist. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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Rakesh Raman