Sivaganga, June 2: Dubbing the demonetisation as the biggest scam and Centre for ridiculing the suggestions of former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday trained the guns on the Union government over Gross Domestic Product fall and other issues.
"The Central Statistical Organisation has released the GDP GVA figures for 2016-17. Finally, the bluff of the Government is called. The economy was slowing down in the middle of 2016 and we had cautioned the Government that unless it takes corrective steps, the economy will slide further.
Instead of taking corrective steps, the Government decided to demonetise high-value currency. Suddenly, without any warning, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 were declared legal tender and something like Rs. 14.5-15 lakh crore was pulled out of money supply," Chidambaram told ANI.
Former finance minister blamed the for ignoring his and former prime minister Manmohan Singh's suggestion regarding the same, and instead ridiculing the duo.
"Immediately, we (Manmohan Singh, I) had cautioned that this was a wrong move and it will gravely affect the Indian economy. I had said that the hit to the economy will be between 1-1.5 percent. We were laughed at, the Government ridiculed us. Now, what's the truth. The CSO has said that the economy has taken a hit of 1.3 percent. Right in the middle of the range I had given. That's going to cost the country Rs. 1.5 lakh crore," Chidambaram said.
Recalling the bad effects due to demonetisation in the country, Chidamabaram said that millions of people, agriculture workers, daily wage labourers, self-employed people were hit very hard.
"While you and I could not get a Rs. 2,000 note for several days, bundles of the same were recovered from Khandla Port engineers, from highway chief engineers in Karnataka, from senior officials in Andhra Pradesh, from businessmen, lawyers, bankers, yet, even today, we don't know how these Rs. 2,000 notes found their way to these people. The Government promised an inquiry, but there has been no inquiry," he said.
He added that the Centre must be guided by some genuine economists, people who know the economy, people who understand development economics and the people who have the knowledge on the market economy.
"Instead, I am afraid this Government brushes aside the views of economists. In fact, it brushed aside the criticism of Manmohan Singh, and the result is this that the country has taken a big hit. I have repeatedly said, demonetisation was the biggest scam of 2016," he said.
The Congress leader demanded answers to various questions on the controversial and instantaneous decision by the Centre to demonetise the high-value currency notes.
"The country has been hurt and the Government owes an explanation to the people why is embarked on this misadventure that has caused so much damage to the economy. I hope there will be answers very soon," he said.