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Shiv Sena submits memorandum to RBI deputy guv, invokes Manmohan to attack Modi on demonetization

New Delhi: Noting that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks on demonetization have raised questions over “trustworthiness” of banking system, Shiv Sena today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision is imposing a “significant cost” on economy and the implementation of the policy has been “absolute mismanagement”.

A delegation of Sena MPs today submitted a memorandum to RBI deputy Governor R Gandhi, requesting “active measures” to ease out the “chaos” caused by invalidation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Sena is a junior alliance partner of the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra. “We were told that RBI is taking steps to expedite the printing of currency so that there is no shortage of cash flow,” Mumbai North East MP Ganjanan Kirtikar told PTI. Apart from Kirtikar, Rajya Sabha MPs Sanjay Raut, Anil Desai and their Lok Saha counterparts Arvind Sawant, Rahul Shewale were present at the meeting that lasted for over 20 minutes.

In the memorandum, Sena MPs referred to criticism of the demonetization policy by Singh in Parliament.

“Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks on the floor of Rajya Sabha give rise to the questions on trustworthiness of the banking system, as he asked government to name any country where people have deposited their money but are not able to withdraw it,” it said. Singh had termed the roll out of demonetization as “monumental mismanagement”. “The country is increasingly worried about the absolute mismanagement in implementation (of demonetization) and daily announcements that show chaos. In no other country would such a decision, where citizens are looked down as thieves, be welcomed peacefully. We look forward to seeing the active measures taken by the RBI on easing out the chaos by demonetization,” stated the memorandum.

Sena claimed the declaration to scrap old high value tenders made by Modi last month is “imposing significant costs on economy.” “The costs are becoming apparent, millions standing in queue to withdraw cash, individuals unable to buy essentials, the disruption of small business, trade, agriculture, thus the entire economy has derailed because of the improper and so far failed implementation policy adopted by the agencies.

“The frustration, mental agony and trauma caused to the people, who have been restrained to withdraw their legitimate money from their bank accounts, has resulted in more than 80 deaths till date,” it said.

Sena said RBI’s norms regarding withdrawal of up to Rs 2.50 lakh cash for weddings have dealt a “severe blow” to people as the conditions are very stringent, resulting in postponement or cancellation of marriages. “Our party president Uddhav Thackeray has welcomed the policy decision of the government to weed out the corruption and black money from the society, but raised serious objections on the implementation part of it. “Inadequate preparations in rolling out new currency, insufficient notes at the bank counters & ATMs, inordinate delay in recalibration of ATMs, has put people to inconvenience and hardships,” the memorandum said.

Referring to RBI’s ban on cooperative banks to deposit and exchange old notes, Sena said 371 district co-operative banks, which are the backbone of the rural economy, too have suffered serious setback. Sena also referred to the Bombay High Court’s observation that some arrangements need to be made to address the plight of DCCBs following demonetization. “Thus, in nutshell, from labourers to farmers, from weavers to artisans, from workers to traders and businessmen, from service sector to manufacturing sector all are the sufferers in the onslaught of demonetization,” it said.

The memorandum said, “Modi assured the people of India on November 8 by saying ‘your money will be your money, you don’t have to worry about this, we have made arrangements to ensure that citizens suffer the least possible difficulty’. The PM also urged people for 50-day timeframe to streamline the currency circulation.” “The countdown has already begun as 27 out of 50 days have passed by and 23 days are left for the government to put the derailed economy back on track and restore normalcy.” Stating that people are anxiously awaiting and watching the moves of the government in dealing with worsening situation, it said that every constituent of the society wants to heave a sigh of relief on December 30.

“Eminent economists like Amartya Sen, Manmohan Singh and many others have questioned the wisdom of the government in playing demonetization gamble. Government has sighted long term gain out of demonetization measures but as observed by Manmohan Singh in his remarks ‘In the long run we all are dead’ (it) needs serious thinking on the part of the government,” it said. Sena further said the government should not be “too late” to exercise “corrective steps” as more complexities may deteriorate the health of the nation. “The question remains, given the timeline, will RBI score over the challenges ahead and smoothen the disarrayed state of the economy? Remember that the common man is the pulse of the economy, will he get solace after December 30?,” it asked.