Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while delivering a speech in Gujarat’s Surat on Saturday hit out at the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) decision last year on November 8 to roll out demonetisation. Dr. Manmohan Singh during his speech said, “I invoke memories of more than 100 people who lost their lives while standing in queues as a result of demonetisation. I say with immense pain & a sense of deep responsibility that the 8th of November was a black day for our economy & democracy.” While addressing professionals and businessmen in Surat, Dr. Singh commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s endeavour to uproot the circulation of black money causing damage to the nation’s economy adding that the endeavour was never in the best interest of the people or the nation’s growth as demonetisation was brought in to convert black money to white. Dr. Singh criticised the centre for the move that ended lives of hundred people and caused disruption to the livelihood of farmers and small businessmen. He mocked the government’s decision of rolling out demonetisation saying that it forced ordinary people to stand in queues for hours and one year later none of the objectives that had been set out by the Narendra Modi-led government to fight corruption and black money has been achieved. Further the scheme caused lot of pain for the poor people, said Dr. Singh.
Continuing his attack on the Modi government’s economic policies, Manmohan Singh said that demonetisation cost the country Rs 1.5 lakh crore in economy while GDP growth rate fell to 5.7 per cent in the first quarter. He added that even if the growth rate increases to 6.7 per cent in 2017-2018, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in their 10 year average fetched 10.6 per cent in GDP growth. Singh sharing his view on the impact in the current economy said that China was benefiting from ‘demonetisation blow’ to Indian economy and in 2016-2017 imports from China had gone up unprecedented. Describing GST as a form of tax terror, Singh said that after demonetisation businessmen and business communities have been badly hit.
However, BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan has brushed aside Dr. Singh’s demonetisation comments saying he is helpless as he has to prove his allegiance to the party and Gandhi family. Pradhan further said that GDP figures have come out and all of Singh’s questions have been answered.