NEW DELHI: Opposition today sought to corner the government over demonetisation, saying its claims that the note ban would help eradicate terrorism and fake currency has fallen flat on face.
Initiating a discussion on Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2017-18 in the Lok Sabha, Congress member K C Venugopal wanted to know from the government how much demonetised currency has been deposited in the banks, how many new notes have been printed so far and how much black money has been unearthed.
Likening demonetisation to "shooting on tyre of a fast moving car", he said it was an "ill-thought out decision" of the NDA government and the entire country was facing "bad" economic situation in its aftermath with growth and job creation declining.
The government had claimed that demonetising 500 and 1000 rupee notes was a "surgical strike" on black money and it would help get rid of fake currency and lead to decrease in terrorism. "However, the actual impact was opposite," he said.
Venugopal said that RBI Governor has twice failed to disclose the quantum of demonetised currency that has come back to the system and is saying that counting is still going on.
"When will the counting be over? The government has a motive to hide some important facts from public of India... If you cannot give the quantum of money deposited, at least give a date when you will disclose," he said.
With regard to impact of demonetisation on terrorism, he said: "The government had said that demonetisation would curb terrorism.... The situation in Kashmir is beyond our control. There has been an attack on Amarnath pilgrims... It is complete failure of all arguments given for demonetisation".
Venugopal said if most of the currency has come back to banks, then it means that there was no black money and if more money has come back than was in circulation, then it means that fake currency has been deposited in banks.
He said 1.57 lakh fake currency notes were detected between November 2016 and July 2017, which was substantially lower than over 5.4 lakh detected in 2014-15 and 6.32 lakh in 2015-16.
Venugopal said digital transaction has started showing signs of decline from 119.07 crore post demonetisation to 111.45 crore in May.
Raising the issue of State Bank of India cutting interest rate on savings deposits as well as Rs 4 hike in LPG cylinders every month, Venugopal accused the government of helping the rich people and targeting the poor.
He said demonetisation and hasty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has badly impacted agriculture and manufacturing sectors of the economy.
Nishikant Dubey (BJP) countered the opposition charges, saying Rs 72,000 crore worth black money has been detected in the past one year.
He said Rs 17 lakh crore worth currency was in circulation before demonetisation and 86 per cent of this or Rs 15.5 lakh crore is in circulation at present.
"The counting has been going on. The RBI has to segregate the fake currencies and for that machine is required. RBI will come out with figure only after verifying every currency that has been deposited," Dubey said.
The government had on November 8, 2016, demonetised 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and had asked holders such notes to deposit in bank accounts by December 30, 2016.