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Published On: Tue, Nov 7th, 2017

Demonetisation was a black day for India’s economy and democracy Says Ex PM Dr Mamnmohan Singh

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C195CSDXgAAAVOrAHMEDABAD: On the eve of first anniversary of demonetisation, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the note ban exercise and Goods and Services Tax (GST) were “badly designed and hastily implemented.”
Calling November 8, 2016 a “black day” for our economy as well as democracy, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today repeated his famous statement he made in Rajya Sabha last year: that demonetisation was “organised loot and legalised plunder”.
“I repeat what I said in Parliament: this (demonetisation) was organised loot and legalised plunder,” he said. “When I heard the demonetisation announcement, I wondered who gave him (Modi) this reckless advice,” he added. Singh said measures like demonetisation are ineffective if the government wants to promote cashless economy. Moreover, he said the fear of “tax terrorism” after the note ban has eroded the confidence of Indian business to invest. He said demonetisation was a black day for India’s economy and democracy. “Nowhere in the world any democracy has taken such a coercive step.”

Dr. Singh claimed that the so-called economic reforms taken by the National Democratic Alliance government had only helped China since exports have surged this year. Addressing traders in poll-bound Gujarat’s Ahmedabad city on the eve of the first anniversary of demonetisation, the 85-year-old Congress veteran said, “8th November was a black day for our economy and indeed our democracy. Nowhere in the world has any nation taken such a drastic step that swept off 86 per cent of the currency.”
Endorsing his party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s statement that both demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) were the two shots fired at the Indian economy, Manmohan said, “This twin blow is complete disaster for our economy. It has broken the back of our small businesses.”

Singh termed the implementation of GST as “badly designed, hastily implemented, and a complete disaster and monumental blunder”. Calling the present form of the GST “a great departure from our vision”, Singh said it has transformed into a “complicated mess, multiple slabs along with additional cess”.
“When undertaking the endeavour of One Nation, One Tax, if the PM had taken inspiration from the resolve of the great Sardar Patel, the outcome would have been different,” Singh said in what was a clear dig at the BJP, which often tries to appropriate Patel, a Congress icon.

Singh said jobs have suffered because of the two policies. “We had to run for Chinese imports at the cost of Indian jobs. In the first half of 2016-17, India’s imports from China stood at Rs 1. 96 lakh crore. In 2017-18, it increased to Rs 2.41 lakh crore,” he said.”Unprecedented growth of imports by over Rs 45,000 crore, a 23% increase in a year, can be attributed largely to demonetisation and GST,” the former Prime Minister said.
Industries in Surat, Vapi, Morbi and other parts of Gujarat were badly hit by demonetisation and GST, he said, adding that these measures had broken the back of small businesses in States like Gujarat. Along with demonetisation, GST had created a deep-rooted feeling of tax-terrorism among businessmen in the country, he said. The Congress had announced that it would observe November 8, the day demonetisation was announced last year, as ‘black day’.

Dr. Singh said, during his tenure as prime minister, his government had come up with a well-designed GST, but “Modi was its main opponent blocking it [then].” “The present GST is a great departure from our vision,” Dr. Singh said that it has been transformed into a complicated mess with multiple slabs and additional cess.(With Agency Inputs ).




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