THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Demonetisation has been all pain and no gain, senior Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor said on Wednesday, summing up the effects of the note ban on its first anniversary.
Addressing the media at the state party headquarters, Tharoor said: "Today is a sad day for the country as lots of trouble was thrust upon the people a year back. Figures point out that around 135-150 people died either while standing in the bank queue, or after being denied medical treatment as they had only the demonetised currency. Several marriages got postponed due to this, many lost jobs and the worst affected were the daily wage earning labourers," said Tharoor.
He pointed out that whatever benefits Prime Minister Narendra Modi had listed on account of the note ban had not taken place.
"They (BJP) said many things would happen, and what actually happened was counterfeit currency increased. On the black money front, what actually happened was just 0.013 per cent of black money has come back, as against what then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi informed the Supreme Court that the black money in the country was Rs four lakh crore," said Tharoor.
He slammed the BJP which he said appears to have gone into a celebration mode on account of the "gains of demonetisation".
"When we see them celebrating, I actually do not know whether to cry or to laugh. Our former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had predicted that the GDP would be down by two per cent, and now the figures released by the Centre state that the GDP has fallen by 2.1 per cent. In short, today is a day of mourning and to mark this I removed my picture and have put black on my Twitter profile," added Tharoor.
Tharoor pointed out "the BJP was the biggest gainer on account of demonetisation as they were able to pump in money for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election campaign", and added that the "real impact of the note ban will now be out in the open during the Gujarat elections".
"While Himachal Pradesh does not have much of industries, in Gujarat, that's not the case, as it's always known to be the engine of the Indian economy. There is going to be a strong backlash," said Tharoor.
He termed demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax as "like two shots being fired".
"The first one was demonetisation and the second shot came through GST. We (UPA) were the ones who first spoke about GST and what we had envisaged was a 'good and safe tax' regime, which would have given solace to the poor and weaker sections of the society, but today what we have is different layers of slabs," added Tharoor.