Nagpur: On the first day of the Maharashtra assembly winter session beginning in Nagpur an conclave was held in Chitnavis centre for an ‘academic’ discussion on effects of demonitization which saw participation of leaders of all political parties.
Speakers who spoke on the subject were: Professor Dr. Khandewalle, known economist of Nagpur, Jayant Patil former finance minister of Maharashtra , Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena leader, Sanjay Nirupam of Congress, Ashutosh of Aam Aadmi Party and Sudhir Mungantiwar, Finance Minister of Maharasthra who was supposed to set the ball rolling with the first speech but arrived late so spoke last.
Dr. Khandewalle said that demonitization is an extra ordinary action that should be taken only in a case of extreme emergency and no such situation existed in India in November. But an emergency has been created now by the way the action has hit small manufacturing units and migrant labour.
Neelam Gorhe, said that though on the 9th November Shiv Sena president had welcomed the move he soon took a press conference at which he was very critical about the insufficient home work done which was resulting in hardships for common people.
She said there are three categories of people in India: First the educated middle class which has credit and debit cards and bank accounts which they use extensively, second is the rich class which can potentially have black money, but mostly in the form of land or gold and third the informal sector. She pointed out that the third category which mostly dealt in cash was completely destroyed by demonitization and the educated middle class which suffered very little, doesn’t care. This is a very dangerous situation where one segment of society is completely indifferent to the misery of another. She cited the example of a widow in UP who was pregnant and delivered her baby while standing in the line for money. She was trying to draw cash from the 2 lakhs compensation she had received after her husband’s accidental death.
Ashutosh said that Modi’s decision was neither for the stated reasons of curbing corruption or fighting the bane of counterfeit currency; it was purely a gimmick to draw attention away from all his failings of 2 and half years. After fighting the costliest election of 2014, where the source of funding has not been disclosed, Modi had to show some results.
Sanjay Nirupam of Congress minced no words in saying 4 groups had helped convert black money after demonitization – Builders, CAs, Jewellers and banks themselves. (He quoted the example of Axis bank). The government had changed decisions on implementation of note bandi 125 times he said.
Jayant Patil gave a studied talk on how India’s parallel economy, also called grey economy had been keeping money in circulation. With this money suddenly removed from the markets, economy was bound to suffer. “The adverse effects will be seen within 6 months” he said.
Mungantiwar who arrived late and was the last to speak could not put up a convincing rejoinder.
He faced a hostile crowd of listeners who shouted “Shame, Shame” when he tried to make light of people’s sufferings.
The tide seems to be turning finally as daily one reads more horror stories regarding victims of endless queues.