The Congress on Friday announced its anti-demonetisation campaign in Punjab, as part of its nationwide drive on the issue, with AICC general secretary in-charge of the state demanding an unconditional apology from Modi and compensation to the families affected by demonetisation.Addressing a press conference here, Asha Kumari said the prime minister had wanted 50 days post demonetisation for the situation to stablise but far from stabilizing, things were going from bad to worse.With the 50-day period over, the Congress, she said, had decided to come out on the roads against demonetisation as part of a nationwide campaign steered by a special committee under the leadership of MP and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel. Other members of the AICC-constituted committee included senior party leaders Randeep Surjewala and Oscar Fernandes.The Congress, she said, would go to the block level over the issue of demonetisation and press conferences would be organised at district level in the entire country on January 2. To a question whether the Congress would get benefit of demonetisation, Asha Kumari said the question was not of benefit to anyone but the sufferings of the people of India, which the party would not tolerate at any cost.
Pointing out that even the RBI had been compromised in the demonetisatione exercise, Asha Kumari said that though the currency in circulation was Rs 15.2 lakh crores, the banks had so far received about Rs 17 lakh crores in old notes, indicating that fake currency had also been accepted. Asha Kumari said by wiping 86% of India’s currency out of the market, Modi had hit 99% of the honest and hardworking people of the country while claiming to target 1% of the black money hoarders and had brought development to a standstill while plunging the nation into a state of financial anarchy.India's poor, farmers, labourers, shopkeepers, small businesses, middle class and the entire unorganised sector had, in particular, been severely affected by the move, said Asha Kumari, terming demonetisation as India’s biggest ever scam in which RSS and BJP functionaries had purchased properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees across the country ahead of the demonetisation move.The Congress, she pointed out, had in fact released details of several of these properties and had demanded that Modi and BJP president make public details of all properties purchased by BJP and RSS in the past one year. Modi’s own credibility was also under the cloud in view of the documents show receipt of money in the Birla and Sahara cases, she added.
On behalf of the people of India, said Asha Kumari, the Congress demands lifting of all restrictions on withdrawal of money with immediate effect, and 18% per annum interest rate for all account holders till that is done .The price of ration distributed under PDS system should be halved for a year, under the provision of Food Security Act, with a special one-time bonus of 20% to be provided over and above MSP for all Rabi crops to compensate the farmers.The party has also demanded deposit of Rs. 25000 in the account of at least one woman belonging to each BPL family as compensation for the immense suffering caused to the women because of demonetisation. Further, the number of guaranteed work days and the wage rate under MGNREGA should be doubled for a period of one year and the government should organise a special drive to identify and register all those who have lost their job since November 8, 2016 and provide them compensation at the applicable minimum wage rate for a period extending upto March 31, 2017.Asha Kumari said the Congress also wanted Income Tax and Sales Tax rebate of 50% to be given to all small shopkeepers and businesses. The central government should compensate the state governments for the loss of revenue incurred on account of this exemption, she added.
The Congress demands a white paper from Modi on the five questions asked by the party, said Asha Kumari. She reiterated the party’s five questions, namely:
1. How much black money has been unearthed since November 8, 2016?
2. What is the economic loss to the nation on account of the demonetisation? How many jobs and livelihood have been lost since this policy has been announced?
3. How many lives have been lost due to demonetisation? Why has the government not paid any compensation to the families of the deceased?
4. What was the process of consultation and preparedness followed prior to the implementation of demonetisation? Why were experts, economists or the RBI not consulted before unleashing this draconian policy upon the people?
5. Will the government place the names of all the persons, institutions and entities that deposited Rs 25 lakh or more in the bank accounts in the six months preceding the 8th of November 2016?