Criticising the Narendra Modi government for demonetisation, former prime minister Manmohan Singh called the process of demonetisation "organised loot and legalised plunder" and also said that it was a "monumental management failure."
"It is monumental management failure. It is a case of organised loot and legalised plunder. It is not my intention to pick holes. I sincerely hope prime minister, even at this late hour, will find a solution," the former prime minister said.
Listing out the pitfalls of the demonetisation process, Singh said, "The GDP of the country can decline by two percentage point, this is an under estimate not an over estimate. It is no good that everyday the banking system comes up with new rules, it reflects very poorly on the PMO and the RBI."
"It is important to take note of the grievances of the ordinary people who have suffered. I say so with all responsibility, we do not know what will be the final outcome. The prime minister says we should wait for 50 days. Fifty days is not a long time. But for the poor even a short period of 50 days can be disastrous. Till now 60 to 65 people have lost their lives," Singh added.
"I would like to know from the prime minister, in which country where people have deposited their money in their banks but have not been allowed to withdraw," Singh said, adding, "Would further like to point out that, in my opinion, this scheme of demonetisation will hurt agricultural industry and small industries."
Dismissing the government's defence that in the long run demonetisation is good for the country, Singh said, "For those saying this is good in the long run, it reminds me of John Keynes' words, 'In the long run we are all dead'."
Fifty days is not a long time. But for the poor even a short period of 50 days can be disastrous.
However Singh also said that he was not against demonetisation. "I do not disagree with objectives of demonetisation. But in the process of demonetisation monumental mismanagement has been undertaken," said.
Urging the prime minister to take action he said, "I urge upon the prime minister to find practical ways and means to release the distress of the people, who happen to be the great majority of our people."
This comes after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned on Thursday again because of the ruckus created by the Opposition parties, demanding PM Modi to speak.
I would like to know from the prime minister, in which country where people have deposited their money in their banks but have not been allowed to withdraw
While Singh had earlier in the day asked the Speaker of the House to speak on demonetisation, he was not allowed to do so by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
"If it is on the demonetisation issue let the opposition resume the debate and let Dr. Manmohan Singh speak. If there is no debate, nobody from the opposition is going to be allowed to speak," Jaitley said.
Later when the House was resumed at 12 noon, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also criticised the prime minister's silence saying, "Democracy means dialogue not monologue. We have heard the prime minister's thoughts from Japan and in Parliament. He is the prime minister of the entire country not just BJP. We are not against demonetisation, we are against the problems people are facing, you went ahead with the plan without preparations."
Both Houses of Parliament had been adjourned till noon as a united opposition continued its tirade against the government over demonetisation.
The opposition in the Rajya Sabha has insisted that it would allow no discussion on the ban on high-value currency without Prime Minister Narendra Modi's presence.
The Prime Minister told his Cabinet last evening that a survey conducted on his app saw record participation and proved that people back his effort to crackdown on black money and corruption by removing the old high-denomination notes.
The opposition, however, said the survey excludes lakhs of people, who live in rural India and don't have access to smartphones.
The opposition has also alleged that the questions were framed in a manner to ensure a positive response for the government.
Watch Manmohan Singh's full speech at the Parliament below.
(With ANI inputs)
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