AHMEDABAD: In the run-up to Gujarat elections, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday hit out at the Narendra Modi government over demonetisation while addressing businessmen, professionals and traders on the current economic situation in Ahmedabad.
"November 8 was a black day for our economy and indeed our democracy. Tomorrow we mark one year since the disastrous policy was thrust on the people of our country," the former PM said in Gujarat.
Criticising the policy, he said that coercive steps like demonetisation are ineffective in promoting less cash economy. "Nowhere in the world has any nation taken such a drastic step that swept off 86% of the currency," he said.
Repeating what he earlier said on demonetisation in Parliament, he said: "This was organised loot and legalized plunder."
Also criticising the goods and services tax, Singh said the fear of tax terrorism has eroded the confidence of Indian business to invest. "This twin demonetisation and GST blow is a complete disaster for our economy, it has broken the back of our small businesses," he said.
Ahead of his visit, Dr Singh had on Monday attacked the Narendra Modi government over its economic policies like demonetisation. Terming the notes ban as a “catastrophic economic policy”, Singh said that the move would aggravate inequalities and prove to be a "far greater social malaise" in a diverse country like India.
He asked Modi to accept the "blunder" and work towards a consensus to rebuild the economy.
"Demonetisation has proved to be a catastrophic economic policy. The damage it has caused has been multiple fold - economic, social, reputational and institutional. Slowing GDP is merely one indicator of the economic damage. Its impact on the weaker sections of our society and business is far more damaging than any economic indicator can reveal," he said.