Modi government’s demonetisation is today’s most debated topic across the country and particularly across Kerala TV news channels. On Manorama News ‘Counter Point’ anchored by Shani Prabhakaran, Kerala Finance Minister Dr. T.M. Thomas Issac made a rare appearance. He chose to debate on demonetisation and how it affected Indians with V. Muraleedharan, the former state president of BJP, Keralam. Kerala Finance Minister Dr. T.M. Thomas Issac asked V. Muraleedharan, ”I want to know only one thing – what did Prime Minister Narendra Modi gain by announcing that Rs.500 and Rs 1000 notes are no longer legal tender at the stroke of midnight? What did India gain? What did the Government gain? People have a right to know this. If there is no clear explanation for this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise.”
Hitting out at the Modi government’s celebrations on completing one year of demonetisation, Kerala Finance Minister Dr. T.M. Thomas Issac also said, ”We have nothing against the crackdown on black money. In fact, we welcome any move that can help tackle this problem. However, what I want to know and understand is what would have the Modi government lost by extending more time, such as three months, for the Rs.500, Rs 1000 notes to continue to be used as legal tender? By not doing so and over a midnight announcement declaring a note ban, what did India gain? It was all a well-rehearsed drama by Modi, nothing more.”
V. Muraleedharan, the former state president of BJP, Keralam reiterated that the Prime Minister, right from the time of swearing in as PM, had given ample opportunities on several occasions for people to declare unaccounted money even before demonetisation was announced. Even after the announcement, the deadlines were extended to support people, V. Muraleedharan pointed out.
Reacting to V.Muraleedharan’s statements, Congress’ party’s Lijo raised questions about the discrepancies in the data given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He pointed out that Arun Jaitley had referred to digital economy as one of the biggest accomplishments of demonetisation, whereas the ground reality is different because a majority of Indians continue to use cash, not debit cards, particularly in the unorganised sector.
CPM’s M.B. Rajesh also added that no other government had tampered so much with data to share different versions, citing that even Chief Economic Advisor Aravind Subramanian is sharing data that is different from that shared by PM Modi and FM Jaitley. “Yes, there has been an economic slowdown but there are already indicators of an economic turnaround. When I share data, no one is ready to accept but when Finance Minister Thomas Issac shares data, it is accurate. I don’t understand this approach. But it is clear to the people what demonetisation is all about” V. Muraleedharan stated.