Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday slammed the Narendra Modi Government on the issue of demonetisation. In an exclusive interview with News Nation, Chidambaram said the Modi Government is doing more somersaults than a circus clown.
Here are the highlights of Chidambaram's exclusive interview to News Nation-
#On demonetisation move
- Completely 'misconceived exercise' to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
# On controversy over Ghulam Nabi Azad's remark
- BJP is clutching at straws. The issue is how did you land the country in a mess.
# On Bill Gates' statement supporting currency ban
- Bill Gates doesn't attend weekly market. He won't complain, nor will any other billionaires.
# On Moody's quote on demonetisation
- Why are we impressed with the rating agencies? I have often asked who will rate the rating agencies.
- Don't care for Moody's ratings.
# On Government's preparations
- Government is doing more somersaults than a circus clown.
- Why kind of preparation is this?
- I support objectives of demonetisation. But this is not the right method.
- As finance minister I wouldn't have done it this way.
# On RBI liability being wiped out
- Apparently there is a game or design behind this.
- Hope Government and RBI haven't stuck a secret deal about this because this will be wrong.
- It's sad if RBI and Government have stuck a deal at cost of people suffering.
- The situation leads me to suspect that such a deal is in the making.
# On 200 per cent penalty
- Cash transactions are perfectly legal.
- I don't see how Income Tax department can slap such a penalty.
- It will lead to court cases.
# How would he have done it. He too attempted demonetisation
- We phased them out.
- Replaced old notes smoothly like it happenes in rest of the world.
# On Rahul Gandhi's claim of leakage
- There are some pieces of evidence. West Bengal BJP, Gujarati and Hindi news paper reported about it.
# On Rs 2,000 notes
- If 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are high denomination, then what is Rs 2000 note?
- First case of corruption distinction belongs to Gujarat.
- Answer is not to change the bank note.
# On trust deficit-
- If there is a trust deficit, I am not surprised. No one is trusted.
- Either you are with us or against. You are anti national.
# On shadown economy
- Our shadow economy is there, but it must be addressed without driving people to misery.
- People didn't have money to buy a meal.
# On Raghuram Rajan
- I can confirm that Dr Raghuram Rajan was opposed to demonitisation.
# How would you see as finance minister
- As finance minister I looked at it. CBDT gave report that this wasn't the solution.
- Govt should publish the Report.
# People facing issue
- Doesn't matter leak or JPC, main issue is misery to crores of people.
- Calculations show on an average 10 crore people standing at ATMs.
- 33 per cent of the population is without work.
- 15 crore people have no money to buy food.
# On Chief Economic Advisor's role
- Chief Economic Advisor was not consulted. Even he learnt of it after announcement.
# Is India under financial emergency?
- Article 360 of the Constitution deals with such situations, but if it applies to this case one has to see.
- Govt says problem will be over in one day one week.
- It's like a weather bulletin. They change their stand every day.
# On printing of notes-
- Capacity of printing presses is 300 crore per month. It will take 7 months to replace all notes in currency market.
# On the use of term - 'surgical strike'
- War mongering should not be used for economy. Don't get carried away.
# How he managed his finances
- I sent someone to exchange my own currency.
(Based on the conversation between News Nation Executive Editor Meetu Jain and former finance minister P Chidambaram)