Yuva Sena chief and son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Aaditya Thackeray, on Wednesday criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government for its decision to demonetise high-value currency notes in November 2016 and asked what it was they were celebrating on the first anniversary of the note ban.
In a statement shared on social media, Aaditya Thackeray wondered whether “a particular party” was celebrating the shutdown of businesses or the slowdown in the economy or the loss of lakhs of jobs. He blamed the Centre of making the “hard-earned savings of many Indians worthless” and calling the savings of homemakers “black money”.
“One wonders who indulged in this radical thoughtless policy decision of demonetisation and treating every Indian as a suspect,” Thackeray wrote. “The speech that asked for 50 days or to face the people at their trial shifted from the main aim of demonetisation.”
On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were no longer legal tender, and the government would introduce new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes. People were asked to swap old notes for the new ones.
Modi had initially said that the move would make it harder to use counterfeit currency and curb the circulation of black money and terrorism. Listing out these reasons, Thackeray pointed out that terrorism had not reduced and also questioned why the United States did not demonetise the dollar in its war on terror. “If it was so simple, let the United Nations demonetise the world,” he wrote.
He said very little counterfeit money was recovered, and the government could have found black money without resorting to demonetisation.
The Yuva Sena chief then highlighted how the aims of demonetisation shifted to making India a cashless economy. He said “no stable, sensible country in the world has a cashless economy”. “Are we a dictatorship?” he asked with regard to changing the way India spends its money.
Now, a year later, ministers are saying that job losses are good for the country and prostitution has taken a nosedive after demonetisation, Thackeray said, adding that everyone had to introspect today, instead of celebrating. “More than us, those celebrating need to introspect rather than celebrate and spend tax payer’s money in government advertisements that promote these failed moves,” he said.