On the second anniversary of demonetisation Thursday, the Congress has decided to hold a nationwide protest demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the people for “ruining and wrecking” the economy. Slamming the Modi-led BJP government for complete demolition of the Indian economy and attempting a “Tughlaqi” experiment, Congress Spokesperson Manish Tiwari said, “The prime minister stood up two years ago on November 8 and addressed the nation, demonetising almost Rs 16.99 lakh crore in circulation.”
“The three reasons given for demonetisation were that it would curb black money, weed out fake notes and proscribe terror financing, but two years later none of those objectives have materialised,” Tiwari said. “In fact, there is more cash in circulation today than it was two years ago when Modi announced demonetisation,” he added. Congress leaders and workers would be out on the streets voicing their protest against the 2016 demonstration.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday declined to reveal the cost incurred on shredding banned currency notes worth Rs 15,31,073 crore which returned to banks following note ban. To a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the RBI said the process of destruction of banned notes got over in March 2018.
On November 8, 2016, PM Modi announced the scrapping of the existing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes with immediate effect during a televised speech. The sudden withdrawal of notes led to liquidity shortage, with long queues outside banks. It had also roiled the economy, with demand falling, businesses facing a crisis, and GDP growth declining close to 1.5 per cent. Many small units were hit hard, with many reporting huge losses even after nine months.
The government had allowed people to exchange these notes at bank and RBI branches till December 30. The facility of exchange of old notes was stopped at the bank counters on November 24, 2016. The RBI had introduced new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes in place of the notes withdrawn from the system, but the pace of remonetisation was slow, and about 115 people had reportedly died while standing in queues to withdraw money.