Kolkata: Expressing serious concern over alleged political discrimination among states, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote to RBI Governor Urjit Patel to know “the nature of allocation of new currency” to each state.
Banerjee also asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor to come out with a solution so that the common people get relief from hardships following demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
In her letter to the RBI chief, Banerjee said: “We would like to know from you the nature of allocation of new currency to each of the states in a spirit of transparency and accountability, since there are serious concerns of political discrimination amongst states.”
“As the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, … we expect you to stand up against this demonetisation onslaught against the common people of the nation at this moment of crisis, rather than falling silent and remaining opaque.”
Patel held an hour-long meeting with Banerjee and the West Bengal government officials at the state Secretariat Nabanna after the apex bank’s Central Board met here.
The Chief Minister described the meeting with Patel as “positive” and said she was able to put forth her views to the RBI Governor.
“He heard what I have said. What was there to answer? I have expressed the views of the common people. I have raised all the pertinent points with requisite documents and evidences.”
“It was a positive meeting to express our concerns. I got an opportunity to meet the man who was involved in demonetisation. I was able to give my views and expressions on behalf of the commoners,” Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister claimed in the letter that the country was going through unprecedented misery and suffering due to “cruel misadventure of demonetisation”.
“We have said that you should come out with a solution. We respect the RBI as an institution, which should not be used or misused politically. The RBI must stand up and give relief to the people from the hardship they are facing,” she said.
“Demonetisation was announced by the Prime Minister, not by him (RBI Governor) which was technically wrong,” she contended.
The letter claimed that already five crore workers in various sectors across the country were facing unemployment and hunger, and that the unorganised sector — which provides two-thirds of the jobs — has “literally collapsed”.
“The small and medium enterprises are shutting down in lakhs. The farmers are going through trauma due to man-made disaster of massive demonetisation,” said Banerjee.
The West Bengal Chief Minister said even middle and larger industries have cut down on their production by at least 50 per cent.
Banerjee has been attacking the RBI for the way demonetisation of high-value currency notes has been implemented.
Criticising Patel’s silence on the issue, she called upon the Centre and the RBI to extend a helping hand to tea garden workers who, she alleged, were dying in the aftermath of demonetisation.
The letter said the economy was getting derailed and gross domestic product growth rates were being revised down every day.
According to Banerjee, demonetisation has affected implementation of Goods and Service Tax as the state’s earnings have dropped by 25 per cent due to the scrapping of high-denomination currency notes.