Addressing the extended meeting of Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) at Indira Bhavan on Sunday, Chidambaram said that the BJP-led NDA Government has been deceiving the common people in the name of demonitisation.
He said that the Central Government did not apply any logic before implementing the decision of note ban. He said nearly 2,400 crore notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denomination were banned. He said that the Centre did even consider the printing capacity of RBI’s printing presses.
He said that the overall capacity of all four printing presses, if they work on 24×7 basis, was just 300 crore notes. Therefore, he said it would take at least eight months to print new notes to replace the demonitised ones. “This is simple arithmetic. Even a third class student can understand this logic,” he said.
Chidambaram strongly criticised RBI Governor Urjit Patel for the note ban. He said no RBI Governor in the past allowed demonitisation for almost 27 years.
He said even Patel’s predecessor Raghuram Rajan, who served as RBI Governor for three years, did not permit demonitisation. However, Urjit Patel allowed it in just 64 days, he said.
The former Finance Minister said with an average of 500 people waiting at ATMs and banks, nearly 11 crore people were forced to stand in long queues across the country just to withdraw their own money. He said there was no improvement in the situation even after three months.
He said half the ATMs are still not working. Citing an example, he said all banks have their branches in Tirumala and all of them have ATMs. But not a single ATM in Tirumala is having cash. Stating that some of the distress might have come down in big cities, but the conditions were worse in villages and rural areas.
Chidambaram expressed wonder at the seizure of huge cash at various places in the country. While common people were struggling to get a single note of Rs. 2,000, new currency notes in huge quantity were seized at different places.
“May be those notes were sent directly from RBI’s printing presses to their homes,” he said adding that the money was illegally supplied to such people either from RBI’s printing press, currency chest or bank’s branch. He also ridiculed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that demonitisation would curb corruption.
He said nowhere on the new currency notes it was written that they were not valid for taking or giving bribe. Therefore, he said those who used to take bribe in old Rs. 1,000 notes, will now take bribe in new Rs. 2,000 notes.
The Congress leader said that entire Rs. 15.44 lakh crore, which was demonitised, have returned to the RBI. Therefore, the entire exercise proved to be “note badli” (exchange of notes) and not “note bandi” (Note Ban). Who gained from this “remonisation” drive and why was it done?” he asked.
Chidambaram, who as the then Union Home Minister, made the first announcement on formation of Telangana in 2009, defended the Congress party’s decision of bifurcating Andhra Pradesh. He said Congress president Sonia Gandhi granted statehood for Telangana while respecting people’s sentiment.
He said smaller States were good for the country and compared to bigger States, smaller States like Punjab have progressed well. He said he felt happy after visiting Telangana today for the first time after its formation.
He also criticised Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao for his failure to fulfill the election promises. He said not a single promise including 12% reservations for STs and Muslims and three acres of land Dalits were fulfilled.
He condemned KCR for encouraging defections in opposition parties and advised Assembly Speaker S. Madhusudan Chary to act as per law against the legislators who defected to ruling party.
Earlier, Chidambaram was given a rousing welcome by TPCC President N. Uttam Kumar Reddy. Other senior leaders including TPCC Working President Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and Leaders of Opposition K. Jana Reddy and Mohammed Ali Shabbir were also present. (INN)