Criticising the Centre for “foisting crisis” on farmers, who have been at the receiving end of nature’s wrath for consecutive years, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today said the “ill-planned” demonetisation could have an adverse impact on the economy.
He said the state’s farmers, who hoped that this time round they will make up for the losses of past years, have been forced to face not a natural calamity but a “government- made crisis”.
“This has been forced by the government knowingly,” he said, adding, “They (BJP) have the most knowledgeable persons and if such intelligent people force hardships on people what more can be said,” he wondered.
Talking to reporters after presiding over a Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister said, “The meeting was of the opinion that farmers should get relaxation in use of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes…cooperative banks to which farmers are directly linked should get relaxation as money is not promptly reaching bank branches.”
On the Centre’s stand that demonetisation will check corruption, Akhilesh said cases of graft involving new currency notes are already making news in some parts of the country.
“We have also come to know that corruption through new notes has already started. Such reports are surfacing in newspapers and especially on the social media,” he said, claiming the goal of unearthing black money and weeding out fake currency notes will not be achieved.
Attacking the Central government over “lack” of preparations before demonetising high value notes, he said, “Even ATM machines were not equipped for the new notes…the currency exchange can take as long as six months or a year.”
“People will get relief only when markets start functioning properly but till then if farmers and labourers suffer huge losses all the economic statistics will lag behind and so will the country,” Akhilesh said, adding it will impact employment, factory workers and daily wagers the most.
“The entire country is today saying that preparations were not made and everything was changed suddenly. If we believe in them (the Centre) and something emerges from a neighbouring country then they will put the country into problems…if there are no proper preparations, it can spell danger to the country,” he said.
Mandis have come to a “standstill” and soon reports will come how the daily wagers are facing problems, Akhilesh said.
Relaxation is being sought in hospitals and also for farmers because the government will be at a loss if any business comes to a halt, he said.
To a question on BSP chief Mayawati, he said, “Her only problem is that the Samajwadi Party will form the government again.”
“You should sometimes ask the ‘pathar wali sarkar’ what all she has done for the state…you meet her every day,” he said referring to stone statues of Mayawati and elephants, which is her party’s election symbol.
On BJP’s rallies in the poll-bound state, he said, “Their top leaders are crisscrossing the districts but they have not been able to say anything on what they have done for the state which has sent the largest number of their MPs.”
“They are visiting so many districts using the roads and helipads made by the Samajwadi Party government. They should tell the people what they have done and what their schemes are for the state,” he said.
Referring to BJP president Amit Shah’s rally in Azamgarh yesterday, Akhilesh said, “The party should have told people as to what they have done for it.”
Parrying questions on infighting in the ruling party, he said, “Samajwadi Party has only one team and that is the ‘cycle-wali’ team and in the months to come Samajwadis are going to form the government.”
On whether those sacked from the Party will come back gradually like the return of Ramgopal Yadav, Akhilesh said, “I can discuss it only within family and within the party.”
Speaking briefly over the decisions taken in the Cabinet, the Chief Minister said, “Minimum support price for sugarcane has been raised by Rs 25 per quintal and nod was given to one-time payment to farmers by the sugar mills instead of two instalments.”
The Cabinet also gave its assent to laptop distribution to lekhpals and expansion of PGI in Lucknow, he added.