Yoga guru Ramdev has supported the government’s decision to discontinue high-value notes but said the currency switch could have been smoother.
Tempers are running high as queues get longer at ATMs and banks five days after the Modi government’s surprise decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that made up more than 80% of the currency in circulation.
Banks are struggling to cope with the cash demand and finance minister Arun Jaitley has said it will take at least three weeks for ATMs to come up to speed .
“For the past 10 years, I have been waging a relentless war against black money and have conducted several public meetings across the country in this regard,” Ramdev said on Saturday, responding to a question about unaccounted for wealth and the demonetisation move.
Ramdev was in the city for Hindustan’s Shikhar Samagam.
“I support the government’s decision to demonetise currency. This step is a big blow to black marketeers and those who have black money,’ he said. “There is no objection to demonetisation. But the procedure could have been different. “
Pointing towards Congress leader PL Punia, sitting in the front row among the audience, Ramdev said, “Ask Puniaji. No one is objecting to demonetisation. Difference of opinion is only over its procedure.”
The opposition has criticised the government’s move, variously describing it as economic emergency, a “surgical strike” against the poor and a scam. Demanding a roll-back, some opposition leaders have said the decision was helping the corrupt.
Announcing the decision on November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the move would check black money and spread of fake currency that was being used for funding terror.
Ramdev, whose Patanjali group is one of the fastest growing FMCG companies in the country, said Ayurveda was getting popular. “People are benefitting from Ayurvedic products by Patanjali. In the next five years, I will make Ayurveda more popular than allopathy,” he said.
Over the next five years, Patanjali group would generate 500,000 jobs and also engage with 50 million farmers, he said.
Ramdev said he wanted to offer free yoga classes in every village. He also spoke about his plan for a chain of schools, Gurukul, that would impart both modern and traditional education.