Govt faces flak over note culling, tries to assuage concerns

New Delhi: Amid salary day blues, Mamata Banerjee today alleged her state West Bengal and some others were being discriminated against in supply of new currency notes and demanded that RBI furnish details of bills distributed to each state.

“Rs 500, Rs 100 and smaller currency notes not seen in Bengal and many parts of the country. They have become a rare commodity. Let RBI release all figures as to which state is getting which currency,” Banerjee said in a statement in Kolkata.

“There is total discrimination in disbursement of cash between states. These figures need to be released. Totally biased, no planning,” she said.

Banerjee alleged the salaries people were not being able to withdraw money from their accounts.

“The salaried class is not getting its own money from banks…If those in the organised sector are facing serious problems, you can imagine how grim the situation is in the unorganised sector. Even RBI has not given many state governments critically necessary funds despite making announcements and promises,” she alleged.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, sought to assuage the concern of common people over demonetisation as also GST, the two big ticket economic reforms initiated by the government, insisting these would be “game changers”.

“As far as currency changes are concerned, once the demonetisation process is completed and the economy gets back to full steam, the size of the GDP will significantly expand, tax base will expand.

“More money will come to the banks which will be used fruitfully for the betterment of the economy,” he told the ‘Make in India’ conclave in Bhubaneshwar.

Jaitley said though the Centre’s initiative might appear challenging, its long-term impact on the economy will be beneficial for the country.

Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who had implemented a Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) to unearth black money during his tenure, said the Modi government had carried out demonetisation in a “haphazard” manner causing “unimaginable sufferings” to the people.

“We are not against efforts to curb black money. But in my opinion, the Prime Minister announced demonetisation without any preparation. It was done in a haphazard manner,” Deve Gowda, a Lok Sabha member, told PTI.

He said 22 days have already passed since the announcement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a nationally-televised address but people, particularly the farmers and the labourers, continue to go through “unimaginable sufferings”.