Demonetization a hoax; will not kill black money: Chidambaram

Dubbing the government’s claim that demonetization would weed out black money and corruption as a ‘hoax, former union finance minister P. Chidambaram has said that such issues are likely to persist since the November 8 decision was not ‘notebandi’ (stoppage of notes) rather it was a ‘notebadli’ (exchange of notes).

“Demonetization will not kill black money and corruption. Earlier, they asked and took bribes in old notes. Now they will take in new notes. The change of notes will not make any difference to these things. It is a complete hoax to say that demonetization will kill corruption,” Chidambaram said while delivering a lecture on demonetization at Srimanta Sankardev Research Centre here.

Throwing a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress leader said, “Let me throw a simple challenge to the government, please guarantee to me that next time I go to a Tehsildar he will not ask bribe from me. Let the Prime Minister give the guarantee to 132 crore people of the country that from today nobody will ask for bribe because he demonetized all notes.”

Pointing out that former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governors had resisted from recommending demonetization to the government, Chidambaram said it took merely 64 days for RBI Governor Urjit Patel to support demonetization.

“Dr Urjit Patel became Governor on September 4 and in 64 days, after he became Governor, he supported the government in demonetization when seven governors before him have not recommended demonetization,” he added.

He also criticised the Centre for not knowing the printing capacity to churn out new currency notes to cater to the demands of the people.

“400 crore notes is needed for circulation and if your capacity is 300 crore notes how long will it take. Simple arithmetic tells you that it would take eight months to print the notes, how can the Finance Minister say that by Wednesday everything will be alright when even now they are printing. There are not enough notes so the government did not even know the capacity of the printing press, the RBI knew but the government did not,” he added.