Cash situation won't improve till May: P Chidambaram

The former finance minister doubted whether the black money menace would end with new currency notes in circulation.

HYDERABAD: Former finance minister P.Chidambaram on Sunday called demonetisation of high value notes as an assault on people of the country. He said the decision was thoughtless, ill-conceived and terribly implemented, which led to horrendous consequences.

“Nobody has any dispute if the government wants to check corruption, black money, counterfeit currency and financing of terrorism. However, these objectives will not be fulfilled by demonetisation,” Mr Chidambaram said, while giving a lecture here on Sunday.

Further, he explain-ed that citizens of the country were put to untold misery and hardships and nearly 11 crore people were made to stand in que-ues for hours together in front of banks and ATM to withdraw their own money.

Around 45 crore people, who depend on daily wages and daily income, had a testing time for 40 days to earn their bread and butter, he lamented. “The government said many things on demonetisation, but it did not speak a single word about compensation to the affected,” he pointed out.

The former finance minister doubted whether the black money menace would end with new currency notes in circulation.

“Will a Tahasildar give land records without accepting a bribe or will a medical college offer seats without taking capitation fee of Rs 25 lakh? Now they will take the bribe in new currency notes. So where is the question of ending the black money? Is the government of the belief that all officials will take bribe in cheque form, so that it can be treated as white money,” the minister asked, suggesting the government take steps to end the demand for black money.

Mr Chidambaram said that situation in cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Benga-luru, New Delhi etc might be a little better, but the rural and interior areas are yet to come to terms with demonetisation. “Even one half of ATMs are either not working or do not have currency in those places,” he said, adding that the situation will not imp-rove until at least May.

“Over Rs 15.44 lakh crore of high denomination notes were ceased to be legal tender from November 8. Contrary to the government’s expectations, all the money made it to the banks. And, it resulted in big corruption with 50 per cent of bank officials diverting the new currency,” he said.

Commenting about the seizure of new notes, he asked, “How did the new Rs 2,000 bundles reach wrong hands? It is the biggest scam of 2016. Ordinary people could not get their own money.” The government made a mountain out of a mole-hill and to come out of it, it had coined cashless or less cash economy slogan, he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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