Rajya Sabha today witnessed a fierce debate on the government’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. While Congress leader Anand Sharma led the opposition's charge, BJP’s Piyush Goyal hit back at opposition parties for criticising the move saying ‘the decision is in national interest’.
Sharma, deputy Leader of Opposition in the Upper House, demanded a probe into ‘selective leakage’, which he termed a ‘Nadirshahi farman’ (autocratic order).
He also sought to know from Prime Minister Narendra Modi as to ‘who wants to kill him’, referring to the Prime Minister's speech in Goa where he had said that with demonetisation resulting in "Looting of their 70 year corrupt earnings, they will destroy me, they can kill me".
"86% of the currency in the markets was 500/1000 notes, was scrapped by just one announcement. Was it all black?" Sharma asked the House.
Sharma also demanded that the Prime Minister must disclose the list of those names, who are holding black money in Swiss banks.
BSP’s Mayawati too questioned the government's preparedness for the demonetisation of high-value bank notes.
Accusing the government of supporting those close to it in settling their ill-gotten wealth, Mayawati said, "In the last ten months, the BJP government has worked to help the party supporters and big businessmen to settle their black money. If the government had spent ten months preparing for it, then why do they need another 50 days? There is something fishy."
Participating in the debate, Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI(M), demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe and said that the government must ‘allow these notes to be used for white transactions’.
Leader of Opposition in the RS, Ghulam Nabi Azad, raised questions over PM Modi’s absence from the House.
“He has no time to listen to us. We were told earlier that the PM would be here, but then we found out he was in the Lok Sabha. And then the Lok Sabah was adjourned. Even in all party meetings he comes towards the last 15 minutes,” he said.
Sharad Yadav, Janata Dal (United) leader, too criticised that government saying ‘there is an emergency like situation in the country’.
“Roads empty and no customers in shops, in lines even old people and handicapped people are there,” he said.
Reply to opposition parties charges, BJP’s Piyush Goyal said that the government never termed it a ‘surgical strike’, “but if this a surgical strike on black money, corruption, terrorism then it is a certificate by Anand Sharma”.
The currency ban is the festival of honesty. The entire country has welcomed government's decision. For first time, the honest have been honoured in the country
“The Prime Minister and the government was well within its rights to take this step. It was taken by the monetary board of the RBI,” he said, adding that the government has given enough time to people to deposit money.
“Everyone can deposit their 'honest money'. Problem is for those who have black money, those who have fake currency. There is no problem for those with legal income,” he said.
Senior Minister Venkaiah Naidu lauded the Prime Minister for the move and termed the decision historic step against corruption.
He, however, accepted that there were shortcoming, but, Naidu said, “the PM is holding review meetings, we are taking steps.”
Coming down heavily on Congress he said, “People have a problem because the graph of popularity of PM Modi is going up. I know there is heartburning and some people are angry at PM Modi. This is a new kind of intolerance. Intolerance against people's mandate.”
“It (demonetisation) is like mothers giving birth. This temporary pain is going to get long term gain,” naidu concluded before the Chair adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier in the say, the Rajya Sabha accepted notices to discuss demonetisation as the Winter Session of Parlimament started. Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said, "We have received notices for discussion on demoentisation. We can have the discussion till 6 pm."
Kurien also conceded to the demands from the members to continue the discussions on Thursday. The notices were given by members of the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Left parties and JD(U).
Venkaiah Naidu, BJP leader and Union Minister
There were rumours that salt is being sold in black markets due to shortage. When we checked, the production is 2 lakh 20 thousand metric tonnes, consumption is 60,000. So vested interests are spreading rumours. Similar rumours on government employee salaries. Nothing will happen, don't worry.
This is a historic step against corruption. Only PM could do it.
Yes, there were shortcoming, but PM is holding review meetings, we are taking steps
People have a problem because the graph of popularity of PM Modi is going up
It (demonetisation) is like mothers giving birth. This temporary pain is going to get long term gain.
The ban will put an end to large amounts of counterfeit currency, put an end to aiding, abetting and terror funding.
I know there is heartburning and some people are angry at PM Modi. This is a new kind of intolerance. Intolerance against people's mandate
From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, no one doubts the intention of the government and commitment of the Prime Minister. If your money is valid, it won't become invalid.
Terrorists, smugglers, maoists, separatists etc. using black and counterfeit money - is their fundamental right? Congress must take a stand if they do or don't support the notes ban.
Even after all the inconveniences, people across the country are praising PM Modi
Mayawati, BSP supremo
It is financial emergency… looks as if Bharat has shut down.
A poor person who can’t get a treatment due to lack of low denomination notes. The government has derailed the day-to-day life of the poor, farmers and the middle class.
It's sad that PM Modi when he came back from Japan, where he made tall claims, he said at a rally in Ghazipur that he was against corruption. But, the arrangements to the rally were made by corrupt means.
BSP is a movement before a party and we have collected funds for common people, not from millionaires.
Government was unprepared and helped only the rich to park their money. And now to hide your weaknesses you are charging other parties.
* If it appears them to demonetise notes after two-and-a-half-years into power and just ahead of Assembly elections in UP and other states, then we can assume they are in a bad state in those states and people in the states will punish them.
Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI(M)
What I demand is immediately - besides the Joint Parliamentary Committee and investigation
* Allow these notes to be used for white transactions
* Which world are you living? People are suffering and the suffering is increasing by the day. Why are you agonising people. What is this fascistic way of controlling people's personal lives. There so many suicides. People can't get their father, mother treated in hospital
* This is not the way to stop counterfeit currency. The small fishes are dying while the crocodiles are enjoying. Unless you tackle supply side of corruption, you can't stop corruption.
* In Assam there is a by-election, day after tomorrow. So for Assam tea gardens, the central government is giving an exemption. But not to Benga, why? This should be investigated. In Maharashtra, they have said you can use old notes to buy cinema tickets. You can't buy food but cinema tickets? How are these exemptions being decided?
In French revolution, they said if you don't have bread eat cake. Now Modi says if you don't have paper, pay by plastic
* No one is taking this Rs 2000 note
Sharad Yadav, Janata Dal (United) leader
* Government should come out with a step to reduce sizes of lines in ATMs and banks across the country and see that the poor don’t suffer
* There is an emergency like situation in the country. Roads empty and no customers in shops, in lines even old people and handicapped people are there.
Ram Gopal Yadav, Samajwadi Party leader
* Common man has become beggar. When my children asked about the PM Modi's surgical strike, I explained to them 'that the money we have, we cannot buy vegetables with it’. This did not happen even during the emergency. They have to stand in lines in front of banks for their own money.
Who advised you to print Rs 2000 note?
* There may not be any problem in metros, but think about rural areas. In villages and small towns no one will take it because they don't have change. If you go to villages today to ask for votes, women will pick up their rolling pins and teach you a lesson
* If chip was a solution, US would have done this long back. Today it is very easy to fake the currency because no one has money.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
* PM Modi has no time to listen to us. We were told earlier that the PM would be here, but then we found out he was in the Lok Sabha. And then the Lok Sabah was adjourned. Even in all party meetings he comes towards the last 15 minutes.
* That's why he has not heard the major Opposition parties in the parliament nor in the all-party meetings. That's why Mayawati ji requested him to be present. I second that.
* We listen to the PM all the time. On TV and everywhere But he doesn't hear us. If he has one hour, we can even skip lunch
Piyush Goyal, BJP leader and Union Minister
* There is no politics in note ban, it is in national interest.
* Why we cannot reveal names of people with black money abroad… it is because then countries will not share information with us in the future. Do you want us to do that? The names should be shared with the Supreme Court and not the public so that the corrupt will not be given a chance to escape.
* None of us called it a surgical strike. But if this a surgical strike on black money, corruption, terrorism then it is a certificate by Anand Sharma
PM Modi is fighting against corrupt, terrorists
* The PM and the government was well within its rights to take this step. It was taken by the monetary board of the RBI
* We have given enough time to people to deposit money. Everyone can deposit their 'honest money'. Problem is for those who have black money, those who have fake currency. There is no problem for those with legal income
* When the PM was elected, he was elected on a mandate to curb corruption and black money. But parties are not taking it well, all parties should instead welcome his actions
* The currency ban is the festival of honesty. The entire country has welcomed government's decision. For first time, the honest have been honoured in the country
Mayawati, BSP supremo
* I have been observing Jaitleyji in the Rajya Sabha and have noticed he does look very 'dukhi'. Its a sensitive issue, we want the PM Modi to come to the Rajya Sabha and take part in this discussion.
Congress leader Anand Sharma
* Rs 500 crore has been spent by Janardhan Reddy for his daughter’s wedding function, it is being attended by BJP leaders,and they talk about fighting black money, why dont you arrest him?
I condemn PM Modi’s statement in Goa for mocking the people who are standing in queues; he must apologise.
* You did not listen to anybody. Just went ahead and announced. And asked the common man to comply. If you have taken out so much money, why wasn’t the replacement available the next day.
* Everyone claims to be a surgeon today, without ever performing a surgery. Everything is a surgical strike nowadays.
* We are a civilized country, rule-based country – and you made all its citizens criminals. Do farmers have credit cards? Which economy works without cash? You have created financial anarchy in this country with your decision.
* Government has list of those holding black money in Swiss Bank, we (Congress) demand that PM must tell who all are there in the list.
PM Narendra Modi met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha and enquired about her health; also met other Opposition leaders.— ANI (@ANI) November 16, 2016
* Whole world got the impression that India’s economy runs on black money. Does the farmer, who puts food on our table, bring home black money?
* 86 pc of the currency in the markets was Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. All were scrapped by just one announcement. Was it all black?