Nitish blames banks for woes of demonetisation
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said the November 2016 decision to demonetise high value currency notes had failed to deliver its desired objectives.Addressing the 64th State-level Bankers Committee (SLBC) meeting in Patna, Mr Kumar, who had broken ranks with the opposition to support demonetisation, blamed banks for failing to curb the flow of banned high denomination notes back into the system.Mr. Kumar said large defaulters were able to obtain huge loans and escape from the country, while the poor had to face stringent recovery action over loans.“The biggest responsibility for the success of demonetisation drive rested with the bankers but everyone knows how a portion of unaccounted cash got accommodated in the banks…while the small borrowers face difficulty in getting loans, big people manage to get away with huge loans what we hear as banking scams,” the Chief Minister said.Despite the dramatic change in his position on the controversial monetary reform, Mr. Kumar a short while later posted a tweet congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi on completion of four years of his government.“Congratulations to honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi on completion of four years of the government…I believe the government will rise to the expectations of the people,” he said.Funds crunchMr Kumar’s apparent u-turn provoked swift reactions across the political spectrum. Sources in the JD(U) told The Hindu that Mr. Kumar has been upset with the Centre for releasing only ₹1,711 crore for relief and rehabilitation after last year’s flood in north Bihar districts. The Bihar government had asked for ₹7,636 crore. Over 500 people died and more than a crore were affected in 19 districts of northeast Bihar.Leader of Opposition Tejaswi Yadav of the RJD said, “He (Nitish Kumar) had supported demonetisation but is now questioning it. He is always years behind in understanding the issues, difficulties and demands of common people.”“Don’t be surprised if he calls demonetisation the biggest scam of India,” Mr. Yadav said. Nitish Kumar would “betray” BJP also, he added.