Mumbai/Hyderabad: The note ban is an unguided "missile" fired "unilaterally" without adhering to democratic norms, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said on Saturday, slamming the NDA government which was also targeted by Arun Shourie who said the stick is being wielded here when black money is lying in foreign shores.
Sen also described demonetisation as a "despotic action" which was taken in a hurry while Shourie, a former union minister in National Democratic Alliance government, claimed that people do not exactly know whether or not demonetisation would help control black money.
"...every now and then we get missiles fired by the government unilaterally. Demonetisation one fine morning is of course just such a missile where there are reports coming in of hardships and suffering though it is not quite clear where the missile has landed," he said.
The remark was made by Sen during a talk titled "Healthcare for all: Why and how" in Mumbai while comparing decision-making in a democratic country like ours and the Communist China.
The Bharat Ratna awardee said decisions get taken in China based on the vision of a small group of people, while in a democracy like ours, things move only when there is a public demand for it.
"Our political decisions, however, in contrast have to involve the public," he said, comparing our situation with China and going on to mention the demonetisation exercise as an aberration from such a convention.
Coming down heavily on the demonetisation, Shourie, a former union minister and eminent journalist, wondered how the move would help check black money which is lying in foreign shores.
"The one who actually has black money, is he keeping it in India in rupees?...Those who have black money, they keep it outside. They buy companies, they buy estates. This dengue mosquito is flying in Switzerland and you are wielding the stick here?," he said, speaking at the ongoing Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF).
Shourie said an idea does not become valid just because the people have voted for the government.
"An idea does not become valid just because the people have voted for it(the government). People don't know. They don't know the merits of or demerits of demonetisation. They don't know whether it is actually against black money or it actually generates more black money. I don't understand. "They don't know that (Rs) 15.50 lakh crore worth of currency was finished and it was said that it was for terrorist money or fake currency and that turned out to be 0.02 per cent, as per the government's own answer in Parliament. They don't know...Then, it is for GST. Cashless, what is such a big thing in cashless," he said.
Saying that the NDA government ought to have concentrated on tax administration and boosting the banking sector, Shourie alleged that nothing has been done in the last two-and-a-half years.