It is not just the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that has time and again refused to disclose information related to demonetisation. Various ministries of the government of India have also been evasive, giving irrelevant answers to questions on demonetisation raised by Members of Parliament (MPs) both in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Here are some examples.
What's the total cost to the RBI of printing ₹500 and ₹2000 notes?
In the Rajya Sabha, Congress MPs Ambika Soni and Subbarami Reddy wanted to know the total cost incurred by the RBI in printing the new ₹500 and ₹2000 notes. This was one of four questions asked by them. In his written response, the Minister of State in the Finance Ministry, Arjun Ram Meghwal spoke about everything from how the RBI has made adequate arrangements for supply of notes to how the currency is being continuously printed—he said it all except for answering what was asked.
Is the government considering directing doctors to accept cashless payment?
The response to this question was even funnier. Naresh Agarwal, Samajwadi Party MP in the Rajya Sabha, asked the government if it is considering issuing directions to doctors to receive their fee in cashless mode in order to prevent the hoarding of black money. In his written response, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Faggan Singh Kulaste, spoke about how the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics Regulations, 2002) mandates a physician to clearly display his fees and other charges on the board of his chamber. Which is all very well, except that the question had nothing to do with how much physicians charge or how transparent they are about this. The question about cashless payment went completely unanswered.
How much new currency was distributed to each state & UT?
Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP from the DMK, wanted to know the total amount of currency circulated by the RBI in the two months after demonetisation (10 November 2016 to 10 January 2017). In addition, she wanted to know the total value of currency distributed to each state and Union territory during this period. In his written response, the Minister of State in the Finance Ministry, Arjun Ram Meghwal said that ₹ 6.78 lakh crore of currency was distributed to various states and Union territories during the period from 10 November, 2016 to 13 January, 2017. For reasons unknown, he chose to ignore the second part of the question.
Ratio in which ₹500 and ₹ 2000 notes were distributed between public and private sector banks
Nineteen (19) MPs in the Lok Sabha raised various questions related to demonetisation. Among other things, they asked about the ratio in which the ₹500 and ₹2000 notes were distributed between public and private sector banks in the country. In his written response, the Minister of State in the Finance Ministry Arjun Ram Meghwal only said that new notes were equitably distributed across the country. He did not disclose the ratio in which they were distributed between public and private sector banks.
Minutes and agenda of the meeting of RBI Board of Directors
Congress Rajya Sabha MP, P L Punia sought the details of minutes and agenda of the meeting of Board of Directors of Reserve Bank of India and the copy of the Cabinet note placed before Cabinet with respect to demonetisation announced on 8 November, 2016. In his written response, the Minister of State in the Finance Ministry, Arjun Ram Meghwal spoke about the agenda of the meeting, but neither disclosed the minutes of that meeting nor provided a copy of the cabinet note.
Reasons for steep rise in bank deposits in September and October 2016
Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha MP Neeraj Shekhar sought to know the reasons for the steep rise in bank deposits in the months of September and October 2016. In his written response, the Minister of State in the Finance Ministry Santosh Kumar Gangwar did not specify the reasons for this rise.
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