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Published On: Mon, Nov 21st, 2016

Prime Minister Must Speak On Notes Ban, Insists Demanded in Parliament

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lok-sabha_660_112212123046 NEW DELHI : Angry disruptions were witnessed in parliament today with the opposition insisting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must speak in the Rajya Sabha on the ban on Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes.

The opposition has also demanded that the Rajya Sabha pay tribute in a condolence message to people who have died amid the cash crunch after the demonetisation. “The 70 people who have died standing in lines at banks deserve a tribute,” said the Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad.

The government has said that PM Modi will not contribute in the Rajya Sabha or Upper House, where the government is in a minority.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says he’s ready to explain the government’s stand, but the opposition is preventing that because it wants to stall parliament rather than engage in discussion. “The opposition is running away from a debate,” he said today.

The Congress hosted a meeting this morning of opposition parties to encourage a united onslaught over the issue. They say they will hold a protest within the parliament compound on Wednesday.

The opposition wants a debate on the notes ban in the Lok Sabha, followed by a vote. The government has reportedly objected to the language of the motion that would be used for the debate.

The opposition plans to repeat in parliament the accusation that big industrialists and others were in the know about the notes ban and had enough time to dodge it by investing hoarded money into assets like property. Opposition leaders want a parliamentary committee to investigate this accusation.

On November 8, PM Modi said that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes would be invalid for transactions just hours later. He said the reform would combat black money and corruption.

The move, generally praised for intent, has been criticized for poor execution because India has rushed en masse to banks to get the new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes. Long lines have been exacting, and ATMs have run dry, while many cash machines are still being reconfigured to dispense the new, larger-sized bills.

Over 45 billion dollars was deposited in banks in the first week after the announcement. The cancelled bills form 86 per cent of the notes in circulation, and rural India has been stranded without cash.

PM Modi has sought 50 days to fix the cash problem, promising long-term benefits from the demonetisation. Without naming them, at a rally yesterday, he targeted two senior opposition leaders, Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee, for criticizing his move, suggesting that their parties’ track records establish a proclivity to corruption.

In the Lok Sabha, the Congress and some other Opposition parties insisted on a discussion on demonetisation under Rule 56, which entails voting and through an adjournment motion that implies suspension of all other business.

On the other hand, in the Rajya Sabha, treasury benches also resorted to slogans after Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi referred to the Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad`s statement that more people had died because of demonetisation than had been killed in the Uri terror attack on September 18 this year.

Earlier, Trinamool Congress (TMC) members protested outside Parliament over the complications faced by the people after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.MPs Derek O`Brien and Sudip Bandyopadhyay were among the protesters.

Last week, TMC head and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met President Pranab Mukherjee along with leaders of National Conference and a few other opposition parties seeking the withdrawl of the demonetisation move.

Amid the pandemonium in the both houses, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met senior cabinet ministers in his chamber in Parliament to counter the opposition.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has issued a whip to its party`s Rajya Sabha members, asking them to be present in the House for three days starting today./ Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned last Friday following furore over the Centre`s move to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.


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