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Will PAC question Modi on note ban?

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament can call Prime Minister Narendra Modi on demonetisation if it is not satisfied with the answers given by top finance ministry officials and the RBI governor Urjit Patel, to whom a detailed questionnaire has been sent.

A PAC meeting on this issue has been called on January 20, in which Patel, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das will be present.

“We have not yet received answers for the questions we have sent to them. They will reply a few days before the January 20 meeting. Their replies will be discussed in detail,” PAC chairman and senior Congress leader K V Thomas told PTI.

Asked if the PAC would call the prime minister if their replies were not satisfactory, he said: “The committee has all the right to call anybody involved in the matter. But that will depend on the outcome of the January 20 meeting. We can call the PM on demonetisation if the members unanimously decide so.”

Of his meeting with the PM after the demonetisation announcement made on November 8, Thomas said, “I had met him and he said that the situation will be normal after 50 days by December-end. But it does not looks like (it is).”

So, the PAC decided to call the top officials involved in the decision-making process, he said, adding that demonetisation has impacted the country’s economy.

“The PM is misleading the country to satisfy his ego. He is trying to justify his wrong decisions. He has done so in a callous manner by introducing Rs 2,000 notes,” he said.

“In a country where there is a call drop problem and telecom facilities are not smooth, how can the PM expect e-transactions to take place on mobiles? Do we have sufficient infrastructure?” Thomas questioned.

Asked what kind of questionnaire been sent to the RBI chief and top finance ministry officials, Thomas said the PAC has raised questions on all aspects of demonetisation.

Among the key questions raised are:

  • Who were involved in the decision-making?
  • How much money has come back into banks after demonetisation?
  • Is there a law that can restrict people’s access to their money?
  • How much money has been pumped back into the system?
  • Has the black money issue been addressed?
  • What is the impact on the economy and poor?

Source: Rediff