Demonetisation, a Mammoth Tragedy: Manmohan Singh

Singh who has been a renowned economist, steered reforms in the 1990s as Finance minister, said in parliament earlier that the impact of the ban on high-denomination notes as "organised loot, legalised plunder."

Demonetisation, a Mammoth Tragedy: Manmohan Singh

Elaborating further on his comments on demonetisation in Parliament, Manmohan Singh called Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation decision a "travesty of his fundamental duty", emphasising that "to tarnish these as ‘black money’ and throw the lives of these hundreds of millions of poor people in disarray is a mammoth tragedy."

In an op-ed for The Hindu on Friday, November 9, ex-Prime Minister of India predicts a ripple effect on GDP and job creation, and a tough period over the coming months, "needlessly so". According to him, the decision would cause "grievous injury" to the honest Indian... and the dishonest black money hoarder will get away with a "mere rap on the knuckles."


In the editorial titled "Making of a Mammoth Tragedy" Singh writes, "In one impetuous decision, the Prime Minister has shattered the faith and confidence that hundreds of millions of Indians had reposed in the Government of India to protect them and their money."

On November 24, Singh who has been a renowned economist, steered reforms in the 1990s as Finance minister, said in parliament that the impact of the ban on high-denomination notes as "organised loot, legalised plunder."

"It is now evident that this sudden overnight ban on currency has dented the confidence of hundreds of millions of Indian consumers, which can have severe economic ramifications. The scars of an overnight depletion of the honest wealth of a vast majority of Indians combined with their ordeal of rationed access to new currency will be too deep to heal quickly," he writes.

The searing critical article takes the dig at government saying, "It may be tempting and self-fulfilling to believe that one has all the solutions and previous governments were merely lackadaisical in their attempts to curb black money. It is not so."

However, he describes the intention behind the notes ban - checking tax evasion and fake money used by terrorists - as honourable and worthy of whole-hearted support. But, he points out, more than 90 per cent of India's workforce still earns wages in cash and more than 600 million Indians live in a town or village with no bank, who save their money in bigger notes.

He concluded saying "Waging a war on black money may sound enticing. But it cannot entail even a single loss of life of an honest Indian."