Manish Tewari had asked the Prime Minister about the economic impact of this move and details about the number of jobs lost.
New Delhi: Not impressed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address on New Year’s eve, the Opposition parties hit back hard. The common refrain was that the Prime Minister did not answer specific questions posed to him. Instead, they said, he took over the role of the finance minister and delivered what was virtually a pre-Budget speech. Congress termed the address “disappointing”.
First one to take on the Prime Minister was Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari. He tweeted: “This is perhaps the first time that a Budget is being delivered outside Parliament. This is a total bypass of the supreme legislature body.” He also asked the Prime Minister to share with the nation how many old currency notes had come back to the RBI and what the government plans to do with them. Will they be recycled or destroyed, he wanted to know. Party’s communications incharge Randeep Surjewala said, “The PM has not told us how much fake currency came, what is the amount of black money.”
The Congress maintains its demand that a white paper be issued by the government on demonetisation. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had asked the government to declare how many people deposited more than Rs 25 lakh in old currency preceding November 8. He had also asked the Prime Minister about the economic impact of this move and details about the number of jobs lost. The Congress did not get answers to its questions in the Prime Minister’s speech on Saturday, marking the end of the demonetisation drive.
West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee also hit out at the Prime Minister. “Where are the figures of demonetisation? What did the nation gain after 50 days of pain? PM deviated from actual agenda of black money and took over the post of finance minister and made a pre-Budget speech,” she said and added, “Modi babu wanted 50 days to deliver promises. He has failed miserably. Sudhikaran just underwent Budhiharan.”
The Left parties also took on the Prime Minister, asking what budgetary allocations have been made to pay for the sops announced. D. Raja, CPI MP said, “The announcement which the PM made about pregnant women is already there in the National Security Act passed by Parliament in 2013. Why hasn’t the PM and his government implemented it as yet?” He also added that initially the Prime Minister had said that honest people are sleeping peacefully, now he has acknowledged their pain. “The PM should tell the people about how much black money came, what are the NPAs and also about the black money in Swiss accounts.”
The BJP, of course, hailed the Prime Minister’s address, saying that the welfare measures announced by him were his way of thanking people for their unstinted support to demonetisation. They will help the poor and boost economy, BJP spokesperson G.V.L. Narsimha Rao said.