Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation in his monthly radio talk Mann ki Baat at 11am on Sunday, the first after he surprised everyone by announcing the decision to scrap high-value notes.
The Opposition has launched an all-out offensive against the government’s decision to recall Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, accusing it of unleashing financial anarchy and economic emergency.
Modi’s 26th Mann ki Baat would be closely watched, as last week has seen bitter and sometimes ugly exchanges between the government and rival parties.
The Prime Minister’s Office also asked suggestions for this edition of the radio programme in his website http://www.narendramodi.in/
While Modi claims widespread support for the move, the Opposition says discontent is growing and even warned for riots breaking out.
The Prime Minister recently asked people to participate in a survey over the demonetisation move, which, he said, was rated favourably by 90% of the respondents.
But, the Opposition has singled out Modi for “cash chaos” and is demanding that he be present in Parliament to answer their queries about the demonetisation move announced on November 8.
Even after almost three weeks of the decision, long queues are still being seen outside banks and ATM kiosks, as the large notes accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation in a country where most transactions are driven by cash.
Reports say situation is worse in rural areas where a large part of the population is unbanked and is employed in unorganised sector, relying of daily wages to get by.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, credited with opening India’s economy, described demonetisation as “organised loot” that could see country’s growth drop by two percentage points. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday with Modi in attendance, Singh accused the government of “monumental mismanagement” in implementing the currency switch.
Modi hit back the next day, saying those criticising the move were the ones who didn’t get enough time to “prepare”.
The statement angered the Opposition more, which demanded an apology from Modi for questioning its integrity.
Parliament, which opened for winter session on November 16, eight days after the announcement, has barely got any business done, with the government and opposition parties clashing over currency recall.
The opposition had planned a protest rally for Monday.
Modi has said demonetisation is the beginning and not the end of a “deep war” against black money.
The recall, he has said, will also choke fake currency being sent from across the border to launch terror strikes and harm Indian economy.
Modi had and sought time till December 30 to get things back in order