Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, March 2, said that 'demonetisation' was the primary reason for the country witnessing high unemployment levels with the informal sector being in a state of total disorder.
Besides the 'ill-considered demonetisation decision', he criticised the Modi-led Union government for failing to hold regular consultations with the states.
Five years ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appeared on national television and announced that all ₹500, ₹1,000 currency notes would turn invalid by midnight. The announcement led to nearly 86 per cent of the currency in circulation becoming invalid by midnight.
"Unemployment is high and the informal sector is in shambles, a crisis precipitated by the ill-considered demonetisation decision taken in 2016," Singh said, reported The Times of India.
He made the statements while virtually inaugurating a development summit organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Institue of Development Studies in the poll-bound southern state of Kerala. He further said that 'federalism' and regular consultation with the state government which formed the cornerstone of India's economic and political philosophy, as stated in the Constituion, were lacking during the present times.
Turning attention to Kerala, Singh pointed out that the state was facing several challenges which were aggravated with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Sectors like tourism which contributed significantly to its economy took a hit.
"While the increased use of digital modes of work may keep the Information Technology sector afloat, tourism has been hit badly and the rate at which the pandemic is galloping in Kerala poses challenges for this industry," he said.
"When I presented the national budget in 1991 as a finance minister, I quoted Victor Hugo, who had said nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come," Singh said.
"I get the feeling that the unanimity and clarity displayed by the UDF on the road ahead will lead to Kerala's idea moment arriving this year," he added while pitching for the Congress-led United Democratic Front.