Home English Demonetisation was a black day for our economy, democracy, says Manmohan Singh.
On the eve of first anniversary of demonetisation, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the note ban exercise and Goods and Services Tax (GST) were “badly designed and hastily implemented.”
Reiterating what he said in the Rajya Sabha, Dr. Singh said “demonetisation was organised loot and legalised plunder.”
In an interaction with a group of traders in Ahmedabad, he said demonetisation was a black day for India’s economy and democracy. “Nowhere in the world any democracy has taken such a coercive step.”
Dr. Singh claimed that the so-called economic reforms taken by the National Democratic Alliance government had only helped China since exports have surged this year.
Industries in Surat, Vapi, Morbi and other parts of Gujarat were badly hit by demonetisation and GST, he said, adding that these measures had broken the back of small businesses in States like Gujarat. Along with demonetisation, GST had created a deep-rooted feeling of tax-terrorism among businessmen in the country, he said.
The Congress had announced that it would observe November 8, the day demonetisation was announced last year, as ‘black day’.
‘GST different from UPA’s version’
Dr. Singh said, during his tenure as prime minister, his government had come up with a well-designed GST, but “Modi was its main opponent blocking it [then].”
“The present GST is a great departure from our vision,” Dr. Singh said that it has been transformed into a complicated mess with multiple slabs and additional cess.
Bullet train project “an exercise in vanity”
Dr. Singh criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project — the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor, saying the project was “an exercise in vanity”. He asked if the Prime Minister considered an alternative to the high-speed train by upgrading broad gauge railway. “By questioning bullet trains, does one become anti-development? Does questioning GST and demonetisation make one a tax evader?”
Dr. Singh also accused the Gujarat government of selling forest lands to industries instead of allowing tribals to farm.