Opposition parties recall horror of demonetisation, slam RBI decision on withdrawal of ₹2,000 notes

₹2,000 banknote was introduced in November 2016, to meet currency requirement of the economy after demonetisation.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 20, 2023 | 3:41 PM Updated May 20, 2023 | 3:41 PM

RBI withdraws ₹2000 notes

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced on Friday, 19 May, that it was withdrawing the ₹2,000 currency notes in circulation, in what critics of the government and media dibbed as “mini demonetisation”.

The central bank said in a statement that it has already “advised banks to stop issuing ₹2000-denomination banknotes with immediate effect”.

It further said, existing notes in circulation can either be deposited in bank accounts or exchanged by 30 September.

Opposition criticises the move

The Opposition parties and leaders have heavily criticised the move, castigating Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government.

The ruling party in Telangana, BRS< slammed this decision.

In a video message released on Friday night, the party’s spokesperson Sravan Dasoju said, “The government of India’s decision to withdraw ₹2,000 notes is completely absurd and illogical. Actually, Mr Narendra Modi has proven himself that he is an inefficient and incapable (PM), and the demonetisation that was announced in the year 2016 was completely a failure.”

Stating that the people of the country need an explanation for the current move, Dasoju alleged several people died standing in queues during the note ban in 2016.

“India needs an answer why you (Modi) have withdrawn ₹2000 notes,” he demanded.

Also read: KTR wants PM Modi to apologise for demonetisation

About the RBI withdrawal of ₹2000 notes, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin tweeted, saying this move was an attempt to divert the attention from the Karnataka disaster

Karnataka’s new Chief Minister Siddaramaiah questioned PM Modi, “what objectives were fulfilled when he banned ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes in 2016”.

Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi also questioned Prime Minister Modi, referring to him as a “top economist”. He further asked if we could expect the ₹500 note to be withdrawn soon.

Congress calls it ‘first act, second think’

The Congress said the move was “typical of our self-styled Vishwa guru” and his method of “first act, second think”.

The Congress also said demonetisation came a full circle, and added that the ₹2,000 note was a “band-aid to cover up the foolish decision of demonetising ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes.”

Senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram said a few weeks after demonetisation, the government and the RBI were forced to re-introduce the ₹500 note and he will not be surprised if the Centre re-introduces the ₹1,000 note as well.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said the “ghost” of November 8, 2016, has come back to haunt the nation once again.

AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday, 20 May, hit out at Prime Minister Modi over the RBI’s announcement on the ₹2,000 notes, terming it as another “note bandi” to trouble the people.

“Modi has issued another new order. Whenever he goes to Japan, he will issue a “note bandi” notification and go. When he went to Japan last time he had done a ₹1,000 note bandi. This time when he has gone he has done ₹2,000 note bandi,” Kharge said, in a jibe at the Prime Minister.

Addressing the gathering after the swearing-in ceremony of Siddaramaiah as Karnataka chief minister and his Cabinet, he said, “He (PM) doesn’t know whether it will benefit the country or cause loss. The ‘note bandi’ that Modi has been doing and has done this time too, he is troubling the people.”

Mamata questions ‘masterstroke’

The Trinamool Congress (TMC), the ruling party in West Bengal, also questioned the move.

State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Twitter: “BJP demonetised ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes in 2016, disrupting the lives of Indians everywhere! They claimed that the introduction of ₹2,000 notes would curb the flow of black money. Seven years later, they are withdrawing it from circulation. Yet another Modinomic masterstroke?”

Related: In 4:1 verdict, SC upholds 2016 demonetisation decision

Left parties, including the CPI and the CPI(M), and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also attacked the government over the issue.

In a tweet in Hindi, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal said, “First he said that by bringing 2,000 notes, corruption will stop. Now they are saying that by banning 2,000 notes, corruption will end. That’s why we say, PM should be educated… He doesn’t understand. The public has to suffer.”

On the RBI decision, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that it “virtually reverses the 2016 demonetisation, grandly announced by Modi as the answer to India’s problems of black money, corruption, terrorist funding, and promoting digital economy”.

He said it is a dismal failure on all counts.

“Karnataka massively rejected ’40 percent commission sarkara’ in recent elections. Condemnable terrorist attacks continue to claim innocent lives,” the Left party leader said.

Also read: RBI withdraws ₹2,000 notes from circulation

What does this move mean?

Unlike the 2016 demonetisation, the banknotes in ₹2,000 denomination will continue to be legal tender

The RBI also said members of the public were free to deposit ₹2,000 notes or exchange the notes for those of other denominations with the bank “in the usual manner”.

The RBI said the common individual could exchange ₹2,000 notes into those of other denominations up to a limit of ₹20,000 at a time at any bank from 23 May until 30 September.

This, it said, was meant to “complete the exercise in a time-bound manner and to provide adequate time” to the public.

The ₹2,000 denomination banknote was introduced in November 2016, primarily to meet the currency requirement of the economy expeditiously after the withdrawal of the legal tender status of all ₹500 and ₹1,000 banknotes that were in circulation at that time.

(With PTI inputs.)