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Mudda panellists examine note ban impact one year after the exercise, after Manmohan Singh announces that it spelt “complete disaster” for our economy

Slamming the Narendra Modi-led central government’s “twin blow” to the economy delivered through the demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), former prime minister Manmohan Singh said both the initiatives have spelt a complete disaster for our economy. On the occasion of completion of one year of note ban, on November 8, the opposition declared to observe it as a “black money day”. APN’s popular debate Mudda took up the issue with panellists Ashok Goyal of the BJP, Surendra Rajput of the Congress, Amir Haider of the CPI, Tapan Bharti, economist, Pradeep Gupta of Geotech Homes Private Limited and Ashok Goyal, national convener, Vyapari Suraksha Manch.

Taking up the cause of the builder community, Gupta stated that the note ban has definitely dealt a severe blow to the real estate sector, and sales have gone down.

Goyal of the Vyapari Manch said it was a bitter pill the nation had to swallow though the intention of the government was noble.

Haider said that the act was like the prime minister throwing a bomb on the country. He said he is worried now about the real estate sector, the condition of the labourers, farmers and small businesses. He said the move helped only the rich.

Bharti said that the intention of the government was good but the study required for such a huge exercise was not up to the mark. Only three-four people knew about the prime minister’s proposed move. They thought that this way they could get Rs three lakh crore back into the banking sector. He said that people were forced to consider digital payments, and now it has become clear that the people in the country prefer to deal in cash currency.

Ashok Goyal of the BJP said that the opposition had long wanted the prime minister to do something to curb black money. When the prime minister decided to take the historic step, he was slammed for that. “This isn’t fair,” he said.

Haider kept interjecting to say that the farmers and labourers, the poorest of the lot, had not benefited from the move.

Rajput said that there was no end to black money, militancy was still rife, and the hunger index of the country had risen. He wanted to know if the government had managed to get back black money into the banks, why the government had to roll out a Rs 8 lakh crore bank bailout.

Taking the BJP’s side, Goyal said that the bailout was meant to clean the mess left behind by the previous Congress government.

Bharti said that even SBI’s former chief Arundhati Bhattacharya had admitted that the note ban had failed to yield desired results. He said that the biggest blow was to the real estate sector that feeds all industries.

Compiled by Niti Singh Bhandari

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