From ‘Jai Hind’ PM has gone on to ‘Jio’ Hind: Sitaram Yechury
As the winter session commenced in Parliament on Wednesday, the debate over demonetisation dominated large parts of proceedings in Rajya Sabha. Meanwhile, Lok Sabha was adjourned in the early hours after reading out of obituaries of parliamentarians by the speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Criticising the government and the Prime Minister for his sudden move to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes deputy leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma said that “86 percent of the currency in the market was in the denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 which was scrapped by just one announcement. Due to this step, now the entire world has got the message that India's economy runs on black money.” Demanding the Prime Minister to release the names of black money holders in foreign banks and tax havens Sharma said that, “Government has a list of those holding black money in Swiss banks. We demand that Prime Minister must tell who all are there in the list.” SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav was in a light mood and took a jibe at the government and the Finance Minister by saying that “your core voter is angry as he deals in black money. Don't announce elections early, or women in villages will beat your party workers with belan (rolling pin)!" CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury questioned the government over its approach of giving selective exemptions to various entities for transaction in larger denominations of Rs 1000 and 500. Pointing out that over 80 percent of Indian economy is cash driven he said that, “India is a cash driven economy, while more than one-fifth of the Indian economy is in the form of black economy. The fate of e-transaction is such that just 2.6 crore out of 130 crore of Indians have got credit cards, while there are just 14 lakh card readers in retail outlets.” Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Chief Mayawati calling it a ‘Financial Emergency’ in the Upper House said that the sudden decision raises the question as to “why is it that after 2.5 years in the power that the government decided about scrapping larger denominations that too just before UP, Uttarakhand elections.” On the government’s demand of 50 days to normalise the present situation she said that “If the government claims that they had been preparing for last 10 months, why is it that they are asking for another 50 days.” She thanked the Shiv Sena for opposing the government and demanded a timely JPC investigation into the leakage of the information about demonetisation. There was consensus in the opposition over leakage of the news of demonetisation to a selected few by the government. Anand Sharma said that, “the decision to demonetise high currency notes was leaked to a selected few. Secrecy was not maintained on this issue, it was published in a Gujarati newspaper a month back and even other newspapers wrote about it. There should be a probe into the selective leakage of information.” CPI(M)’s Yechury informed the house that he has evidence of Rs 1 crore being deposited by the Calcutta unit of BJP during banks hours before the announcement.