Backing President Pranab Mukherjee’s assertion on demonetisation, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday said one has to take a balanced view on the government’s move.
“The President having been a finance minister knows very well what all could have been done. But that does not mean that the move was a complete failure because we have at least for four-five months knocked out the terrorists. It’s only now they are recovering. So, one has to take a balanced view. All the time to just be critical is not enough,” Swamy told ANI.
However, Swamy stated that there is no doubt that the Finance Ministry did not prepare and did not warn the Prime Minister well in advance that they are not ready with demonetisation.
“This is a decision we took before the elections that one of the steps we will take is demonetisation. So, consequently for the lack of preparation for two and a half years…there is something shocking and it is wrong to say the Finance Ministry did not know because the Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das was the member of the RBI board. They got it long before,” he added.
He further said that lack of preparation of the Finance Ministry is a unanimous opinion.
“When the matter was reviewed, you should have said we are not ready. Then on what basis also did they make the 2,000 rupee note smaller than all other notes? ATMS are run by private parties. Did you ensure that they all are fully working?” he added.
President Mukherjee earlier on Wednesday backed the demonetisation drive, saying the move, which might have led to temporary slowdown of economic activity, will improve the transparency of the economy.
Addressing the nation on the eve of the 68th Republic Day, President Mukherjee said, “Demonetisation, while immobilizing black money and fighting corruption, may have led to temporary slowdown of economic activity,” he said.
“As more and more transactions become cashless, it will improve the transparency of the economy,” he added.
Earlier this month, President Mukherjee had warned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation drive may lead to a temporary slowdown of the economy.
“Demonetisation, while immobilising black money and fighting corruption, may lead to temporary slowdown of the economy,” said President Mukherjee.
The President added that the government must be “extra careful” to alleviate the suffering of the poor.
“We all will have to be extra careful to alleviate the suffering of the poor which might become unavoidable for the expected progress in the long term,” he said.
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He said that while he appreciates the thrust on transition from entitlement approach to an entrepreneurial one for poverty alleviation, he is not too sure that the “poor can wait that long”.
On November 9, a day after Prime Minister Modi’s announcement, President Mukherjee welcomed the move saying that it “will help unearth unaccounted money”.
” President Mukherjee welcomed the bold step of the Government of India which will help unearth unaccounted money and counterfeit currency,” said a statement from Rashtrapati Bhavan.