Criticising BJP’s major economic reform- demonetisation, former President Pranab Mukherjee in his memoir has said that the stated objectives behind the move ‘have not been met’.
Mukherjee said that right after the Prime Minister made the televised announcement, he came to meet him to seek approval, on which he told PM Modi that “while it was a bold step, it may lead to temporary slowdown of the economy, we would have to be extra careful to alleviate the suffering of the poor in the medium to long term.”
However, Mukherjee in his memoir expressed support of the manner in which the Prime Minister announced the move- “There has been criticism that he should have taken lawmakers and the Opposition into confidence, before making the announcement. I am of the firm opinion that demonetization could not have been done with prior consultation because the suddenness and surprise, absolutely necessary for such announcements, would have been lost after such a process.”
He added that four years since the announcement was made on November 8, 2016, “But perhaps one thing can be stated without fear of contradiction: that the multiple objectives of the decision of demonetization, as stated by the government, to bring back black money, paralyse the operation of the black economy and facilitate a cashless society, etc., have not been met.”
“Since the announcement was made in a sudden and dramatic manner, I asked the PM if he had ensured that adequate currency was there for exchange,” he added.
Following the meeting, Mukherjee wrote, “I issued a statement extending support to the principle of demonetization. I maintained that it was a bold step taken by the government that would help unearth unaccounted money as well as counterfeit currency. Incidentally, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar agreed to extend full support to the demonetization decision after I had endorsed it.”
The former president released the fourth volume of his autobiography ‘The Presidential Years: 2012-2017’ on Tuesday.