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Monday 23 January 2017
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PAC may call PM Modi to explain note ban if RBI’s reply not satisfactory

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament may ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to elaborate on the issue of demonetisation if it is not satisfied with the answers given by top finance ministry officials and the RBI Governor Urjit Patel, to whom a detailed questionnaire has been sent.

A PAC meeting on this issue has been called on January 20th, in which the RBI Governor Urjit Patel, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das will be present.

Urjit Patel, has also been sent a detailed list of questions on the process that abolished 500 and 1,000-rupee notes at just a few hours’ notice on November 8. The cash shortage that resulted has eased up a little in recent days, but there’s still nowhere near enough of the new notes in supply and economists predict a slowdown in growth.

On being asked whether PAC would call the Prime Minister if replies were not satisfactory, he said: “The committee has all right to call anybody involved in the matter. But that will depend on the outcome of the January 20th meeting. We can call PM on demonetisation issue if members unanimously decide.”

In a meeting with the PM after demonetisation announcement made 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.”

So, PAC 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 about what 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.