New Delhi, January 9: The PAC of Parliament can call Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency bill on a single stroke on November 8, if the answers provided by top finance ministry officials and the RBI Governor Urjit Patel fail to satisfy the panel.
Just a day before PAC had sent a detailed questionnaire to RBI and Finance Ministry for answers on viability of decision of demonetisation of 86 % of country’s currency and central bank’s preparedness for such a massive change in the economy.
The parliamentary meeting on the noteban of high currency bills has been called on January 28th, in which the RBI Governor Urjit Patel, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das are also called upon.
PAC Chairman and senior Congress leader K V Thomas said to media, “We have not yet received answers for the questions we have sent to them. They will reply few days before the January 20th meeting. Their replies will be discussed in detail.”
When media asked if the PAC would call the PM, he said: The committee has all right to call anybody involved in the matter. But that will depend on the outcome of the meeting. We can call PM on demonetisation issue if members unanimously decide.
Citing his meeting with PM Modi after the announcement of demonetisation on November 8, Thomas said, “I had met him and he said that the situation will be normal after 50 days by December-end. But it does not looks like.”
Thus, PAC has decided to call the top officials involved in the decision making process this month, he said, adding that the demonetisation has impacted the country’s economy.
“The PM is misleading the country to satisfy his ego. He is trying to justify his wrong decisions. He has done in a callous manner by introducing Rs 2,000 notes,” he said.
“In a country where there is a call drop problem and telecom facilities are not smooth, how can PM expect e-transactions would take place on mobiles. Do we have sufficient infrastructure?” he questioned.
Asked what kind of questionnaire been sent to the RBI chief and top finance ministry officials, Thomas said that the PAC has raised questions on all aspects of demonetisation. The key questions include who were involved in the decision-making? how much money has come back into banks after demonetisation? Is there a law that can restrict people’s access their money? How much money has been pumped back into the system? If black money issue has been addressed and what an impact on the economy and poor?.
The Public Accounts Committee or PAC is a committee of selected members of Parliament constituted for auditing “revenue and expenditure” of the Government of India. It has all rights to question the members of government including the Prime Minister, if needed. The PAC, which scrutinises the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), takes suo motu note of the important matters.
Sixty days have passed since PM Modi had announced demonetisation of high denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 to curb black money and terrorism in the country. Since Nov 8, neither PM nor RBI has been successful in easing out cash crunch and bring normalcy in the country. There is no official account of total deposits of demonetised notes and remonetised money bills. India has wittnessed a harrowing experience of currency exchange and cash crunch which was not only unprecendented but also uncalled for, as neither terrorism nor black money could be counters by banning currency in the country. So PAC seeks a satisfactory response from the ruling government.