Demonetisation a 'tsunami' that brought about disaster, says Mitra
Kolkata: Criticising the statement of the Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley stating demonetisation of high value notes a "watershed moment in the history of the Indian economy", senior Trinamool Congress leader and Bengal's Finance minister Amit Mitra said: "It was nothing but Tsunami that brought disaster in the lives of the common people in the country."
"I am astonished that how they are calling it (demonetisation) watershed by killing people," exclaimed Mitra adding that protests need to be build up against such "zabardasti" moves that was evident even during the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) which was done hastily and people will someday give their answer to all these anti-people decisions.
On the day when "Black Day" was observed to protest on the first anniversary of demonetisation of high value notes, Mitra said: "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had tweeted within an hour after demonetisation was announced terming the move as a draconian decision and it has been established today with the fall in the GDP since note ban. GDP of around Rs 3 lakh crore was just extinguished."
While speaking about the wrong move of the Centre in announcing demonetisation of high value notes that have failed in all the countries where it has been done, Mitra said: "Tax reforms can be done without going for demonetisation as well. In that case, one must learn from Bengal where the tax generation has become double in four years and it went up to Rs 43,000 crore from Rs 21,000 crore without any move like demonetisation. It has been done by taking steps like bringing in e-based tax reforms. At present, Bengal government didn't go for transaction even of Re 1 through cash or cheques. It is entirely online."
Elaborating the effect of demonetisation on common people, Mitra said: "The Centre for monitoring the Indian Economy has given a data recently that in January, February, March and April there was 15 lakh job loss. I would say that the figure is less as the informal sector that shares 40 percent of the GDP and 80 percent job creation had faced a major blow just due to demonetisation. In Surat, around 1 lakh weavers have sold out their machines, at Tirupur in Tamil Nadu 40 percent of the 15,000 crore business was lost and the picture is same all over including places like Ludhiana, Muradabad and Agra."
He maintained: "All the four motives of demonetisation have failed. Both terror and Maoist activities have gone up by a huge percentage. The figure proves that funding for such activities is going on and it shows that demonetisation had failed in checking the flow of black money. Moreover, the only persons, who had gained out of demonetisation, are those who had managed to turn their black money to white."
Mitra, being the Finance minister of the state, is also a member of the GST Council. He had opposed the introduction of the new tax regime from July 1 due to its lack of preparedness. "But it's zabardasti implementation after by a review by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 1 has killed the golden goose in one go as the main purpose of GST was not served and common people remained deprived of its benefits," said Mitra.