Will the Centre answer Manmohan's concerns?

Dr Singh described demonetisation as organised loot and legalised plunder .

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s short speech in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday was the piece de resistance of the nationwide debate on demonetisation. But instead of paying attention to what Dr Singh, had to say about the economic impact of the demonetisation move, finance minister Arun Jaitley stuck to his government’s cynical — and superficial — political script of continuing to badmouth the government led by Dr Singh two and a half years after the Congress’ rout in the 2014 general election. Going by this logic, Congress leaders should seal their lips forever and stop speaking so that the ruling side face no criticism from them. In his recent speeches, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown the same traits regarding West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and BSP leader Mayawati. Instead of responding to the points they raised, he sought to make indirect allegations against them of corruption, evading the responsibility of defending the demonetisation move from criticism.

It is not inconceivable that through his self-certification Mr Modi will gain his objective of winning the coming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh. His populist appeal does lie in the fact that he can persuade the poor that he is against the rich. But few economists will say demonetisation will not harm the economy in the foreseeable future, and hurt the poorest sections the most — agriculturists, small shopkeepers and those in the informal sector, as Dr Singh noted. It will be great if Mr Modi can come to Parliament, preferably the Rajya Sabha — where his opponents are many — and ask questions, and present his counter-point. So far he has steadfastly declined to do so, although he has been making emotional political speeches to justify himself. But these are at forums where the audience asks no questions.

Dr Singh described demonetisation as “organised loot” and “legalised plunder”. When millions of people with bank accounts are restrained from accessing their own money, what else does it amount to? More, the customers’ money — now flowing into banks in a conscripted way — will be used by banks to cover the bad loans given by them to the ultra-rich with good connections. That won’t really be a pro-poor measure. Who can object to the goal of ending corruption, black money, counterfeiting of currency, and terrorist funding? But the government self-righteously says its opponents criticise demonetisation as they support black money. But it has still to explain how any of these goals, all desirable, will be met by its demonetisation drive.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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