The Congress on Wednesday demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly lying to the country, after the RBI said 99.3 per cent of the junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes have returned to the banking system.
Hitting out at the Centre, the opposition party said India had to pay a “huge price” for demonetising a bulk of currency, announced suddenly by Modi on November 8, 2016.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram said more than 100 lives were lost and lakhs of jobs were destroyed due to closure of businesses after demonetisation.
The Indian economy lost 1.5 per cent of GDP growth that accounted for a loss of Rs 2.25 lakh crore a year, he said.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the prime minister in his 2017 Independence Day speech had claimed that more than Rs 3 lakh crore unaccounted money will come back to the system.
“Modiji, will you apologise for that lie now?” Surjewala asked.
“(The) RBI report again proves that demonetisation was ‘Modi-made disaster’ of epic proportions. 99.30 pc of demonetised money returns,” he added.
The Reserve Bank of India, after an awfully long period of counting of returned bank notes, said today that as much as 99.3 per cent of the junked notes have returned to the banking system.
Of the Rs 15.41 lakh crore worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation on November 8, 2016, when the note ban was announced, notes worth Rs 15.31 lakh crore have been returned.
This meant just Rs 10,720 crore of the junked currency did not return to the system.
In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said every rupee of the Rs 15.42 lakh crore - barring a small sum of Ra 13,000 crore - has come back to the RBI.
“Remember who had said that Rs 3 lakh crore will not come back and that will be a gain for the government?” he said, taking a dig at Modi.
“I suspect that the bulk of the Rs 13,000 crore is in Nepal and Bhutan and some that was lost or destroyed,” he said.
“So, government and RBI actually demonetised only Rs 13,000 crore and the country paid a huge price. Over 100 lives were lost. 15 crore daily wage earners lost their livelihood for several weeks. Thousands of SME units were shut down. Lakhs of jobs were destroyed. Indian economy lost 1.5 per cent of GDP in terms of growth. That alone was a loss of Rs 2.25 lakh crore a year,” he said in tweets.