Manmohan Singh on song: Note ban is monumental mistake, organised loot, legalised plunder; Modi has no answer

"Demonetisation can weaken and erode people's confidence in the currency and banking system," says Manmohan Singh

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday gave a crackling answer to the demonetisation announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In Rajya Sabha with Modi in silent attendance, Singh said the note ban was a monumental mistake and the problems faced by the people as a result of “monumental management failure”.

He said the note ban may shave at least 2 percentage points off India’s GDP. He said this was “organised loot and legalised plunder” as people who have put their money into banks cannot access them, a feat never done anywhere else in the world. .

“Today, there are no two opinions in the country. It is important to take note of the grievances of the common people who have suffered,” he added.

He also said that we do not know what will be the full outcome and 50 days is a short period but for those who are poor, even 50 days can bring about disastrous effects.”

“What has been done can weaken and erode our people’s confidence in the currency and banking system,” said former RBI Governor.

Manmohan said the way demonetisation has been implemented will hurt agriculture, small industries and the people in the informal sector and asked PM Modi to offer a constructive proposal to end the distress.

“I want to know from the prime minister the names of countries where people have deposited their money in banks but are not allowed to withdraw it,” he said.

The former prime minister found unlikely support from columnist Tavleen Singh, a prominent Modi supporter. Academic Madhu Kishwar had tweeted last week that the demonetisation will boomerang on Modi.

Dr Manmohan Singh is right when he says that people must not be prevented from taking their own money out of banks.