Demonetisation an attack on India’s poor, farmers: Rahul Gandhi

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that the government’s hidden agenda behind demonetisation was to deliberately harm India’s informal sector, which survives on liquid cash.

In his latest video series on the Indian economy, Gandhi dubbed the 2016 demonetisation as an “attack on India’s poor, farmers, workers and small shop owners”.

He claimed that the hidden agenda of demonetisation, which saw the scrapping of all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, was to “clear the ground”.

“Our informal sector works on cash. Small shopkeepers and workers survive on cash. The second target of demonetisation was to take out money from the informal sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the nation that he wants a cashless India. If India goes cashless, small shopkeepers, farmers, and workers will be finished,” Gandhi said in his video series.

The short videos are the new communication tools for the former Congress president to reach out to a larger audience on social media.

Earlier, he had spoken on the India-China border conflict and the informal sector amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

India’s informal, or unorganised, sector absorbs about 95% of the county’s workforce and is the key to an equitable growth.

Gandhi’s latest series comes in the wake of the Indian economy’s decline by a record 23.9% in the first quarter of April to June in the current financial year 2020-21. The deceleration reflected the economic impact of the 68-day Covid-19-induced lockdown restrictions in the first quarter.

Gandhi recounted the woes of millions of people, who suffered during demonetisation, and said that the exercise didn’t solve the black money problem. “What did the poor Indians benefit? Nothing. So who all benefitted? Only the country’s billionaires,” Gandhi alleged.

“The government used your money to write off the loans of the billionaires,” he further alleged.