75,000 Indian industrialists turned NRIs after demonetisation: Mamata

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday claimed that around 75,000 Indian industrialists have left the country and turned NRIs post demonetisation because of harassment and recession, leading to a Rs 7 lakh crore loss for the exchequer.

“About 75,000 Indian industrialists have left the country and became NRIs, faced with harassment and recession. They could not take in the torture and mental agony.

“Even if I consider they have invested between Rs 50 crore to Rs 500 crore, then that means more than Rs 7 lakh crore has already gone out of the country,” she said on the first anniversary of the demonetisation.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had promised to bring back black money stashed abroad by some Indians, Banerjee said: “Instead of bringing black money, it is our money that has gone out of the country.

She also demanded investigation into why the government favoured the digital payments solutions app Paytm Mall, who main backer Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba was under investigation in China for “withholding information”.

“When the Chinese government itself is conducting investigation against Alibaba, because the company does not give full information, then why is it that in India, all business is going to them?”

“There must be some investigation. So long this ruing party (BJP) is in saddle at the centre, truth will not come out. But they are not going to be in power for ever. Then there will be inviesigation and the truth will be out in the public domain,” she said.

Lashing out at the centre’s demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes from the November 8-9 midnight last year, she said: “More than 100 people died, 12,500 farmers committed suicide. Over 50 lakh people lost jobs. From textiles to the unorganised sector, all are suffering. No employment will be created for the next two years.

“It has been a bad decision for the country, politically and governance wise,” she said.

Raising doubts about the BJP government’s intentions behind the note ban decision, Banerjee asked whether it was a planned exercise or “just a conspiracy to make black money white. Was it an innocent decision or a conspiracy?”

The Chief Minister argued that all the three benefits that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of for undertaking the demonetisation exercise has proved null and void.

“They said demonetisation was a step against corruption. But all economists have said time and again that it is a bad move. He said it would end terrorism. But in Kashmir alone, terrorism has gone up by 38 per cent. There has been an 82 per cent increase in Maoist violence.

“As for the claims that the move will end black money and fake currency, we are all waiting for the Rs 15 lakh that would land in our pocket once the government gets black money hidden abroad back into the country. There has not even been an one per cent effect on circulation of fake currency.”

Ridiculing the Modi regime for “continuously shifting the goal posts” about the benefits of demoentisation, Banerjee quipped: “the way they are shifting the goalpost, the goalpost itself may vanish. Then how will you score goals?”

She also attacked Modi for rolling out the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July, despite repeated pleas from the opposition to delay it.

“We asked them to wait and prepare that in a planned way and not to hurry. But they had to do it July itself. It seems they owe allegiance to some quarter.”