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Demonetization: Rahul Gandhi puts forth demands, seeks white paper from PM Modi

Seeking a white paper on demonetization, Congress posed several questions to the Prime Minister on Wednesday including how much black money has come in and put forth a charter of demands including lifting all restrictions on money withdrawal and compensation to farmers, traders and the poor who have “suffered” due to note ban.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should double the MNREGA wages and the number of days each labourer can work, besides giving 50% rebate in Income Tax and Sales Tax to shopkeepers and 20% bonus on MSP for Rabi crops to farmers and waiving their loans. Coming out with the “Charter of Demands” before the media, he sought a list of all those who have deposited above Rs 25 lakh before demonetization was announced and sought relief to those badly affected including provision of Rs 25,000 to at least one woman of each BPL family.

“We want that the Prime Minister should explain some things to the country. After November 8, how much black money has come out and how much economic loss has the country suffered due to demonetization. How many people lost their lives and whether any compensation has been paid to them. “The Prime Minister should also tell whom he consulted before taking the decision and spell out the names of experts consulted. The Prime Minister should also provide a list of all those people who have deposited Rs 25 lakh or more in their accounts before demonetization,” he told reporters.

As part of the demands, Rahul Gandhi said all restrictions on withdrawal of money be lifted with immediate effect and till the time these restrictions are in place, a special interest at the rate of 18% per annum be given to all. He also sought that all charges on digital transactions should be abolished forthwith, adding that the charter of demands was “on behalf of the people of India”.

Gandhi said the price of of ration distributed under the PDS system should be halved for the period of a year under the provisions of the Food Security Act and a special one-time bonus of 20% should be provided over and above the MSP of all Rabi crops. “That Rs 25,000 should be deposited in the account of at least one woman belonging to each BPL family as compensation for the immense suffering caused to women due to demonetization,” the demands charter said.

Gandhi also said that an Income Tax and Sales tax rebate of 50% should be given to small shopkeepers and businesses. The central government should compensate state governments for loss of revenue incurred on account of this exemption,he said. The Congress Vice President also demanded that the number of guaranteed work days and the wage rate under MGNREGA should be doubled for a period of one year.

He also demanded that government should organise a special drive to identify and register those who lost their jobs since November 8 and provide them compensation at the applicable minimum wage rate for a period up to March 31. Lashing out at Modi, the Congress leader alleged that the Prime Minister did this demonetization ‘yagya’ for only 50 families while the poor and small shopkeepers have suffered and government should provide compensation to these people.

He said the money deposited in banks is that of the people of the country and the limit imposed by him on bank accounts should be withdrawn immediately to help restore their financial independence. “The farmers have been hit hard. He should waive their loans and provide 20% bonus in MSP to farmers,” he said, adding that small shopkeepers be also compensated by providing 50% rebate on sales tax and income tax. “The Prime Minister has to tell the country why he caused pain to the poor people and snatched their financial independence.

“Narendra Modi should answer when he will present the list of all Swiss bank holders before the lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the list that has been provided to him by the Swiss government. We want to know who are these thieves and why is Modi saving them,” he said.

In the questions posed to the Prime Minister, Gandhi asked, “What was the process of consultation and preparedness followed prior to the implementation of demonetization? Why were experts, economists or the RBI not consulted before unleashing this draconian policy upon the people?.” He also asked the government to place the names of all persons, institutions and entities that deposited Rs 25 lakh or more in bank accounts in six months preceding November 8.