New Delhi [India]: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday slammed the BJP-led Central government over the demonetisation on its third anniversary, saying that the move to ban high currency notes "was perhaps the single most appropriate metaphor for the BJP's ill-conceived governance model".
In a statement, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that 'Tughlaki blunder of demonetisation' was inflicted by "a tyrannical government hell bent upon attacking livelihoods and lives of its own people."
She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that demonetisation was aimed at wiping out black money, eliminating fake currency and purging terrorism and Naxalism.
She said the BJP government also told the Supreme Court that Rs 3,00,000 crore of black money will be purged as it would not return into the system.
She said the objective of the abolition of cash currency usage and to replace it with a digital economy was later stated as an objective.
"Three years later, Prime Minister Modi has failed spectacularly on all these counts. The RBI has confirmed that 99.3 per cent of all the devalued Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes have been re-deposited with zero windfall gain to speak of," she said.
Gandhi said that fake notes turned out to be a minuscule and negligible percentage of the notes in circulation.
"Terror and Naxalite activities have actually seen an increase after demonetisation. The currency in circulation has actually seen a 22 per cent increase over the pre-demonetisation level. The simple question being asked by every Indian is -- what did the demonetisation achieve," she asked.
"Demonetisation wiped out over one crore jobs from the economy, took the unemployment rate to a 45-year high, shaved two full percentage points off GDP growth and ensured that India's international rating moved from 'stable' to negative," she alleged.
"It is now widely acknowledged as a herculean blunder by independent economists and taught, across the world, as a cautionary tale of 'what governments should not do," she said.
The Congress leader said the Prime Minister and his colleagues never "once took responsibility for or even acknowledged this faux pas that claimed over a hundred and twenty lives, proved a death knell for India's medium and small businesses, snatched the livelihoods of India's farmers and reduced millions of families to the very margins of poverty."
"It was a preposterous measure fuelled by false propaganda, which did untold damage to innocent and trusting countrymen," she added.
Gandhi said the Modi government "may try and evade responsibility for this ludicrous and short-sighted measure", the nation and its people will ensure that they are held accountable.
"The Prime Minister and his colleagues have stopped speaking about demonetisation since 2017, hoping that the nation will forget. The Congress will ensure that neither the nation nor the history forgives or forgets," she said.