Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh opened the debate in Rajya Sabha by directly attacking the government and calling the move to ban Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes a "monumental mismanagement” on Thursday.
Trashing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to demonetize high value currency notes by calling it an “organized loot and legalized plunder”, Singh went on to say that the entire move will have a “disastrous effect on economy”. Though he said that he did not disagree with the objectives behind the decision, Singh added that the GDP growth can fall by 2 per cent, which is an underestimate. Modi was seen listening from the treasury benches during the session.
Aimed primarily at reducing corruption and the flow of black-money, this move has received backlash from almost all quarters of the country for causing inconvenience to the common man. "It is important to take note of the grievances of the people suffering,” Singh said.
Apart from the fall in GDP, this move will adversely affect agriculture, small industries and everyone in the unorganized sector, he added.
Manmohan Singh’s argument was backed by what Prabhat Patnaik, an economist and professor emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University, earlier said, "It is absurdity on the part of the government to have announced the demonetisation overnight, as 85 percent of currency is held in 500 and 1,000 rupee denominations."
With common man already losing faith in the banking system as they are unable to withdraw the money deposited, Singh urged the PM to come up with some constructive proposal that can be implemented in a way that doesn’t cause chaos and panic among the public.
“For poor people, even 50 days can be detrimental”, said Singh in response to Modi’s call, asking people to wait for 50 days for the scheme to come into effect.
Dr. Manmohan Singh ended his speech by saying, "Those who say demonetisation is good in the long run should recall the quote: by British economist, John Maynard Keynes, 'In the long run we are all dead'" amidst applause from the other members of the Rajya Sabha.