Calling demonetisation a “decision taken without forethought”, the Congress on Friday said all its stated objectives have failed and the government’s insistence on digital transactions is infested with “serious issues”, including of privacy.
The opposition party also accused the Modi government of changing the narrative from black money to cashless economy.
“It is now abundantly clear that the whole exercise was undertaken without forethought and planning; without consulting key officials; without understanding the crucial role of money in circulation; and without assessing the capacity of the currency printing presses to supply new notes,” senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said.
“Altogether, the whole exercise has been a case of total mismanagement, administrative collapse and widespread corruption,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scrapping of high-denomination currency notes on November 8 night, and subsequently sought 50 days to put things in order.
Chidambaram said the Congress would have pledged support to demonetisation if the objectives were to unearth and stamp out black money and end corruption, but that has not happened.
“Events of the last 50 days have proved that none of the stated objectives has been served. Hoards of black money in new Rs 2,000 notes have been found. There is no guarantee that black money will not be generated in future or that bribes will not be given or taken in future in the new currency notes,” Chidambaram said.
The former Union minsiter said the government had tried to change the narrative of the demonetisation move from black money and corruption to a cashless economy.
“No economy can become – or has become – totally cashless. We support encouraging high-value transactions to adopt the digital mode, but to insist that even low-value transactions should go cashless is an absurd and undesirable goal.”
“There are serious issues of privacy and cost to the payer and the payee. These issues require serious debate,” he added.