Introduction and withdrawal of Rs 2,000 note cast doubt on integrity, stability of India’s currency: Chidambaram

MUMBAI, May 29:
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday said the introduction of Rs 2,000 currency note and its subsequent withdrawal have cast doubt on the integrity and stability of the Indian currency.
Addressing a press conference here, the former Union finance minister said the key economic indicators are pointing downward and there is low confidence that the economy will reach the high growth path.
He also said the situation in Manipur, where recent ethnic clashes have claimed more than 75 lives, was alarming and questioned the continued silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“He (PM) campaigned in Karnataka, visited Japan and other countries. But couldn’t go to Manipur. There is a grave crisis. Shouldn’t the prime minister visit the state. It is shocking that till today, he hasn’t made a single comment,” the Congress leader said.
Asked about the scuffle of wrestlers with police in Delhi on Sunday amid the agitation against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Chidambaram said the government’s silence on the issue was equally shocking.
“For the last one month, the wrestlers are struggling and no minister has visited them, the government ignored their demands. For the sake of one MP, why are you allowing our medal winning wrestlers to go on dharna for 30 days?” he asked.
Governance and policies in a secular, democratic country must give rise to a tide that will lift all boats. In that view, the NDA government has totally failed in the last nine years, he claimed.
What is worse is that the government does not even make an effort to correct its mistakes and govern for all the people, he said.
Chidambaram said the countdown to the 2024 general elections has begun. The Opposition has been taking stock of the government’s performance, he said, adding that the start of the 10th year (of the government) is an important juncture.
Replying to questions, the senior Congress leader said the Opposition unity is a “work in progress”.
“On June 12, there is a meeting of Opposition parties in Patna. We hope to put up a united fight against the BJP. If the non-BJP Opposition parties get together, it is possible to field one common candidate (against the BJP) in 400-450 seats… that is the desire, aspiration. It is work in progress,” he said.
Chidambaram said there is evidence that Chinese troops have “encroached” upon the Indian territory.
China hasn’t yielded a inch in numerous rounds of talks at different levels, he said. “China Pakistan axis has become stronger. Parliament is in dark about the actual situation,” he claimed.
The Reserve Bank of India recently announced withdrawal of Rs 2,000 currency notes from circulation and asked people to deposit it in banks or get it exchanged by September 30.
“The thoughtless – some would even say foolish – introduction of the Rs 2,000 note and the mortifying spectacle of withdrawing the note have cast doubt on the integrity and stability of India’s currency,” Chidambaram said.
The Congress leader said he didn’t agree with the RBI’s explanation that the Rs 2,000 note was introduced to meet the immediate requirement of people.
“Within 30 days of its introduction, no one was using it. The notes didn’t come to the people. It was a foolish move bringing the integrity of the currency system in question. The original decision to introduce it was foolish, but the government didn’t want to admit it,” he charged.
Chidambaram also said the Centre’s ordinance on control of services in Delhi was wrong.
“It is up to the Congress leadership to take a decision on what stand the party should take in Parliament,” he said. (PTI)