Cong scared of note ban given its 'scandalous' record: FM

Jaitley also appealed to the Opposition to allow the Parliament to function as the government was ready for a debate.

New Delhi: Hitting back at the Congress, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the party is uncomfortable with the Modi government’s demonetisation move because of its ‘scandalous’ record during its 10 years in power from 2004 to 2014.

“There were two striking features of the two Congress regimes. No steps against corruption and no steps against black money,” the Finance Minister said.

Stating that corruption scandals peaked during the Congress regime, Jaitley said this was the reason the party was uncomfortable with demonetisation.

Read: Note ban biggest scam, confidence in Indian economy shaken: Chidambaram

In perhaps an assurance to those still facing inconvenience due to shortage of cash, Jaitley said the government is rapidly completing the process of demonetisation by injecting significant amounts of cash into the system within the next three weeks.

“From 2004 to 2014, high denomination currency increased to 80% from 36% of total currency. Our goal is to move to a low cash economy,” Jaitley said pushing for digitisation.

The Finance Minister claimed that future transactions in the country will be mostly digital, and this will in turn help catch black money hoarders in the tax net.

Speaking about the IT raids in the country which have unearthed crores stashed in cash of new denominations, Jaitley said that every person who indulges in such activities will be caught.

Jaitley also appealed to the Opposition to allow the Parliament to function as the government was ready for a debate on the issue of demonetisation, and asked them to look at the long-term advantages of demonetisation.

Earlier on Tuesday, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had called demonetisation ‘the biggest scam of the year’, while attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not taking the Opposition into his confidence over the move.

This is the biggest scam of the year and must be investigated,” P Chidambaram said, while addressing a press conference in the national capital.

He wondered why Modi did not bother to consult eminent economists like Manmohan Singh on the issue.

“Government should have consulted at least Yashwant Sinha, he is their own man. They could have consulted Mr Manmohan Singh. Are they suggesting that the former PM if consulted by the present Prime Minister will betray a secret?” he said.

Chidambaram said the confidence in Indian economy has been severely dented by the number of measures undertaken by the current government and said demonetisation was the primary reason.

“Even a natural calamity might not cause so much of trouble. This is an illusion that it is intended to hurt the rich and benefit poor. I don't see any rich man getting affected,” he said.

He argued that just because people are not protesting the move does not mean they approve the step taken by the government. He also attacked the government for constantly changing the reasons for the move, the latest being that it was done to make India a cashless economy.

"To assume that India will go from 3% to 100% cashless in a matter of few months is an outlandish expectation. Which country has cashless economy? Does US? Does Singapore have it? Where is electricity in country? Where are the machines?" he asked.

"Every bank says ‘no cash’, so how does the govt say there is cash? This is why Dr Manmohan Singh said monumental mismanagement," he said.

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