Thousands of Congress party workers hit the streets of Telangana State on Monday in protest against the inconvenience and hardship caused to the general public due to the unplanned move of demonitisation of high value currency notes by the BJP Government at the Centre.
Congress workers took out massive rallies, organised dharnas and burnt the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Besides the headquarters of all 31 districts, protests were also organised at Assembly-level across the Telangana State as part of “Aakrosh Diwas” observed by the party at the national level.
In Hyderabad, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy led the protest at Reserve Bank of India near Lakdi-ka-pul. Accompanied with senior leaders and thousands of workers, Uttam marched to the RBI Regional Headquarters in a rally. After staging a sit-in protest for a while, Uttam, along with other leaders met RBI Regional Executive Director R.N. Das to submit a memorandum on behalf of TPCC.
“The RBI, being an independent statutory institution has the fundamental role and responsibility to make decisions and execute the same with regard to currency and its management. However, Mr. Modi’s attempt to make the unilateral decision to demonetize the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes is nothing but an act of dictatorial, demeaning and destroying the primary functional responsibility and autonomy of RBI,” Uttam Kumar Reddy said in the memorandum.
In their memorandum, the Congress leaders demanded that the Central Government listen to the voice of people and deliberate a dialogue in the Parliament on this entire exercise of demonetization and make a collective decision rather than enforcing a dictatorial decision. They also demanded a White Paper giving details of repercussions of demonetization. They also asked the government to make adequate preparations to ensure that the sufficient currency is available 24/7 in the ATMs and banks. They asked the government to utilize the cooperative banks to conduct the currency exchange transactions.
The Congress leaders also demanded adequate compensation to the families of more than 70 people who lost their lives due to sudden demonetization and standing in long queues.
Stating that demonitised Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes constituted about 86% of cash in market transaction, he alleged that the irrational decision taken by BJP Government has destroyed the livelihood of poor, daily wage earners, workers belonging to unorganized sector, farmers, hawkers, small traders etc., is destroyed. He said that the Prime Minister has completely failed to understand the structure of rural economy and appears to be in the state of illusion and misconception. “The continuous global travel seems to have misled Mr Modi to take such a drastic measure of bringing in cashless economy without any comprehension of grass-root realities and likely consequences. On the whole, the decision of demonetization amplifies that Mr Modi understood neither global economy, nor the Indian economy,” he said.
Leaders of Opposition K. Jana Reddy (Assembly) and Mohammed Ali Shabbir (Council), TPCC Working President Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, ex-PCC presidents V. Hanumantha Rao and Ponnala Lakshmaiah, MLCs Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy and Santosh Kumar, MLA A. Sampath Kumar, ex-union minister Sarve Satyanarayana, ex-minister P. Sabitha Indira Reddy and Danam Nagender, NDMA former Vice-Chairman Marri Sashidhar Reddy and other senior leaders also participated in the protest near RBI.
Speaking to media persons later, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that India, during the 10 years of UPA regime under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, had evolved as one of the fastest growing economy. However, instead of continuing the progressive economic measures, Modi-led BJP Government has derailed the economy with its regressive policies and processes. “It is a matter of our fundamental principle and basic policy to regulate black-money and we, as a party when in government, always took stringent measures to regulate the black money and strengthened the Indian Economy,” he said.
The TPCC chief sought to know whether the Prime Minister was aware of the fact that 5% of population of this country captured 95% of the wealth and 95% of population posses only 5% of the wealth. “We do not see any of the aforesaid 5% wealthy population suffering due to demonetization. We have not seen any of the rich classes standing in the queues for exchanging or depositing their money. It is only the poor who are compelled to exchange the notes and suffer standing in the queues at the cost of their livelihood,” he said.
Uttam Kumar Reddy condemned the Central Government for implementing the note ban without creating adequate banking infrastructure. He also ridiculed the Prime Minister for advocating cashless economy without taking into consideration the fact that almost one-third of population was illiterate leave alone computer literacy and almost 40 crore people have no bank accounts. “There are thousands of villages without any banking facility; majority of the population in this country do not have credit cards or debit cards; most of the rural population do not use smart phones to use mobile banking services; majority of the population does not have access to internet; majority of the economic transactions occur in informal markets and we have massive unorganized economic sector. In this kind of most challenging context, it is illogical to implement cashless economy. It looks like Mr Modi wants to build castles in the air without laying adequate foundation under them,” he said. (NSS)