Opposition Stalls Parliament, Wants PM To Answer On Rs. 500 And 1000 Notes Ban: 10 Facts

NEW DELHI:  Both Houses of parliament were adjourned on Thursday morning – the Rajya Sabha four times, the Lok Sabha for the day – as opposition lawmakers continued their attack on the government over the impact of its ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Today is the second day of the winter session.
Here are the top 10 developments in this story:
  • In the Rajya Sabha or Upper House, where a debate on demonetisation has been on since Wednesday, the opposition shouted slogans demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi come to the house, listen to debate and respond to their questions.
  • It’s a stalemate, with the government refusing to give in to that demand. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will reply to the debate, in which a united opposition has attacked the government over what they call “economic anarchy”.
  • In the Lok Sabha, which did not function yesterday after obituaries, opposition parties have moved 21 adjournment motions, which seek to put aside regular work to debate and vote on the notes ban.
  • Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she would allow the debate but not until lawmakers stopped shouting. When that did happen, she adjourned the Lower House for the day.
  • “We are ready to discuss any issue, there is nothing to hide. We want the Congress to clarify, are they with the government decision or not? You’ve got every right to make demands, and the government will reply to it all,” said senior union minister Venkaiah Naidu this morning.
  • Opposition parties, except for the Trinamool Congress, have not demanded that the government withdraw the notes ban, but have criticised the manner in which it was implemented causing hardship to common people who have had to queue up for hours at banks amid a cash crunch.
  • They have also alleged that information about the currency ban had been leaked to BJP units and “friends of BJP” and have demanded that a joint parliamentary committee or JPC be set up.
  • The government has rejected the allegation of a leak of information as baseless and said everyone was taken by surprise by PM Modi’s announcement last week, which explained the “initial problems” in the switch over to new notes.
  • Ministers speaking in the debate said the radical step was taken in national interest to end corruption and black money. No honest taxpayer would lose a single rupee, while those with unaccounted wealth would suffer, as would terror organisations that had been choked by the currency ban, they said.
  • Before the winter session began PM Modi had said he was counting on “good debates” on key issues and hopes the opposition will cooperate to support key legislation like taking the next steps to introduce the national Goods and Services Tax or GST, the biggest tax reform in decades.