SRINAGAR: Senior Congress leader Meem Afzal on Thursday described as demonetisation as “surgical strike” on India’s poor, farmers and small businesses alleging that it has plunged the entire country in a state of ‘economic anarchy’.
‘Demonetisation is a surgical strike on India’s poor, farmers, labours, shopkeepers, small businesses, middle class and entire unorganized sector,” Afzal said while addressing a press conference in Srinagar.
He said by scrapping 86% of currency in circulation on November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hit at 99 per cent of honest hardworking Indians while presumably targeting just 1 per cent black money hoarders.
“India’s ‘wheel of development’ has come to a standstill due to demonetization. It has plunged the entire country in a state of ‘economic anarchy’,” the Congress leader said.
He said 130 crore people were forced to stand in queues for their money. “The time people should have spent earning their livelihood was spent in the queues to withdraw money”.
Afzal said 50 days of demonetisation have witnessed tragic deaths of over 115 innocent persons. “PM Modi should unconditionally apologize and pay compensation to these families. We expect him to apologise when he speaks on the issue at the end of the 50 days he had sought”.
He said RBI has changed its rules 126 times and it will take at least eight months to print the equivalent of the scrapped currency notes.
Afzal alleged that demonetisation has turned out to be the “biggest scam” of independent India.
“Kolkatta unit of BJP was caught depositing Rs.500/ 1000 notes running into Rs 3 crore on the day of demonetisation. In the run-up to decision of demonetisation, BJP and RSS purchased properties running into hundreds of crores across the country,” he alleged.
The Congress leader further alleged that Rs 500 crores were deposited in Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, Ahmedabad within three days of demonetisation. “BJP president Amit Shah is a Director of the bank and why has he not been investigated?
“Mahesh Shah of Ahmedabad, Gujarat made a declaration of Rs.13,860 crore in the voluntary income disclosure scheme. As he was giving a TV interview disclosing names of politicians and bureaucrats, he was taken away by Income Tax authorities. Former Gujarat CM, Sureshbhai Mehta has openly spoken about links of Mahesh Shah with Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Why have they not been investigated,” he said.
The Congress leader also alleged that PM Modi’s credibility is under cloud as he is accused of "corruption" and receiving "black money" in Aditya Birla and Sahara Group cases.
“Is Modi and BJP ready for an independent probe into both these serious issues of corruption,” he said.
Afzal said Congress demands that restrictions on withdrawal of money be lifted with immediate effect. “Till the time restrictions are in place, a special interest at the rate of 18% per annum should be given to all bank account holders and charges on digital transactions should be abolished forthwith.”
“Rs 25,000 should be deposited in the account of at least one woman belonging to each BPL family as compensation for the suffering caused to women due to demonetization,” he said adding that number of guaranteed work days and the wage rate under MGNREGA should be doubled for a period of one year.
Afzal further demanded that an Income Tax and Sales tax rebate of 50% should be given to small shopkeepers and businesses. “The Central government should compensate the State governments for the loss of revenue incurred on account of this exemption.”