Rajya Sabha on Monday witnessed a fierce debate on the recent note ban imposed by the Modi govt. Congress leader Anand Sharma led the Opposition's charge, asking Centre why 'were all Indians being criminalised' by the move.
"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.
BJP hit back at Congress for criticising demonetisation and said despite facing hardships the common man in India was lauding the government's 'surgical strike' against black money.
Here are live updates from Rajya Sabha:
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav hit out at government over demonetisation and said, “This is the first time that I have seen people turning into beggars despite having money at their disposal.”
“10-12% of the people in this country hold 90% of the country’s wealth, can you tell me if even a single person from that 10-12% is standing in queues outside banks. Farmers are unable to buy fertilisers for their crops, a potato farmer told me nobody is buying his produce and it is rotting away. Are these farmers holding black money?” Ram Gopal Yadav said.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad requested the government to ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the Rajya Sabha session and listen to what the Opposition parties had to say on various issues.
"We are not revealing the names of those who have stashed their money in Swiss banks, because once we make the names public, then the notices that we want from the foreign governments, we will stop receiving them. Does the Congress want us to give the names to public so that the culprits can find an escape route?," BJP asked Congress.
“This step is a celebration of honesty; everybody agrees that the trouble caused by the note ban is only temporary. The people of the country are ready to suffer a little because they know that this step has been taken by Narendra Modi to fight black money, corruption, drugs and terrorism,” BJP said.
"Many people have been facing problems due to demonetisation and we sympathise with them, but we will have to make sacrifices to eliminate black money. Despite hardship, India is supporting Modi’s decision to demonetise big notes," BJP leader Piyush Goel said, hitting back at Congress.
BSP chief Mayawati interrupted BJP leader Piyush Goel and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi take part in the discussion.
Congress alleged that govt’s decision to ban higher denominations was ‘secretly leaked’, claiming that BJP deposited crores before demonetisation was imposed.
"The Prime Minister has criminalised the common man of India who has been lining up outside banks for the past 5-6 days," Congress alleged.
"If you were fully prepared for the move, then why was there no cash in banks? They later said it would take time for ATMs to be recalibrated."
“Black money is stashed by the rich, why are the poor being punished for their crimes. Do farmers have credit cards? Which economy works without cash?” said Congress.
The government has created an environment where nobody is allowed to question the decisions of those in power, Congress alleged.
Congress claimed that the government has a list of those holding black money in Swiss Banks and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi reveal their names.
Lok Sabha on the other hand was adjourned till Thursday after members maintained a two-minute silence for former members who passed away.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier addressed the media from Parliament premises, making a last minute appeal to the Opposition for their co-operation to achieve a 'fruitful' session.
“In the winter session, a very positive discussion will happen and on all issues with contribution of all parties. In last session an important bill like GST was passed, it was a big step. I had thanked all parties then,” Modi said.
The government is willing to discuss all issues and answer the questions raised by the opposition, Modi said, hoping for a fruitful session as he recalled the passage of the GST Bill in the last session with the cooperation of all parties.
Modi on Tuesday had met opposition leaders and sought their cooperation in the fight against black money and corruption for which, he said, the demonetisation exercise was undertaken.
In his concluding remarks at an all-party meeting on the eve of the Winter Session, Modi spoke in support of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls. He pitched for state-funding of elections and asked parties to debate the issue.