Strongly condemning demonetisation and its effect on thousands of people, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gave a letter to Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Urjit Patel during a meeting in the state secretariat Nabanna on Thursday, urging him “to stand up against this demonetisation onslaught against the common people of the nation at this moment of crisis, rather than falling silent and remaining opaque”.
The meeting began at 3.15 pm and lasted for around an hour. State Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee were also present. Banerjee later said: “Neither the Prime Minister nor the floor of Parliament is available to tell the problems of the people due to demonetisation. He (Urjit Patel) is a direct man. I am satisfied that I conveyed the message to him about the sufferings of the people. I told him that you have done such a thing that the implementation of GST has been affected, which is a double “dhamaka”. I also told him that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is an autonomous institution with historical background and it should not be used by anyone for political purposes.”
In her letter, Banerjee also wrote: “We would like to know from you the nature of allocation of new currency to each of the states in a spirit of transparency and accountability, since there are serious concerns about political discrimination amongst states.
After leaving Nabanna, Patel told reporters that “the meeting was good”, while the Chief Minister said it was “satisfactory.”
Banerjee, who has been vocal against demonetisation from the first day, gave a two-page letter, along with a three-page memorandum of the state government, containing a detailed explanation of the effect of demonetisation on different sectors in Bengal.
She stated that “the whole country is going through an unprecedented misery and suffering due to the cruel misadventure of demonetisation which has not been seen in any modern democracy”.
Stating the hapless condition of common people, she wrote: “Five crore workers across the country and across sectors are facing unemployment and hunger. The unorganised sector, which provides two-third of jobs in the country, has literally collapsed. Lakhs of small and medium enterprises are shutting down shops. Farmers of our nation are going through a never seen before trauma... all due to the man-made disaster of massive demonetisation. Even middle and large industries have dropped production by at least 50 per cent.”
Banerjee also mentioned in her letter: “You also know that plastic cards are not foolproof and 92 per cent of the villages in the country have no banks. Every major economist, including Nobel laureates, has come out strongly against demonetisation, cutting across theoretical leanings. You are aware that the economy is getting derailed and growth rates of GDP are being revi sed downwards every other day.”
In the memorandum attached to the Chief Minister’s letter, the difficulties faced by people have been categorised under five major points: ‘Agriculture sector in severe stress’, ‘MSME, unorganised and informal sectors are collapsing’, ‘Dislocation of payment of wages to the tea workers: a case of discrimination’, ‘Inadequate banking network/services in the state’ and ‘Shortage in supply of smaller demonetisation notes.’
RBI Governor shown black flags
Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel was shown black flags at the airport on Thursday here during a protest by Congress workers against demonetisation.
Police sources said when the RBI Governor arrived at the NSC Bose airport, Congress workers staged a demonstration and showed him black flags. They also raised slogans “Urjit Patel go back” and “Urjit Patel hai hai”. The security personnel managed to escort the RBI Governor inside the airport. Earlier in the day, Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M) had staged a demonstration outside the RBI office here where Patel was present during the central board meeting of RBI.