Sun, Dec 11, 2016 | updated 05:49 AM IST

If Centre was not ready, how did new Rs 2000 notes hit markets: Nirmala Sitharaman

Updated: Nov 19, 2016 17:09 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov. 19 (ANI): Coming down heavily on the Congress for repeatedly questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi's preparedness before executing the demonetisation scheme, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday stated that if the Centre was not ready then how did the newly minted 2000 and 500 Rupee notes hit the markets and banks with such alacrity.

Speaking to ANI here, the Union Minister asserted that the Prime Minister is taking every step possible to eradicate the evil of black money including forming a Special Investigation Team (SIT), something which the Congress forgot to do when it was in power.

"The step of discontinuing 500 and 1000 rupee notes is a crucial step. The Government is aware of the inconvenience it is causing to the people and is in a huddle everyday to alleviate it. But the Congress is simply using the common man as a shield in blatantly attacking the Centre over demonetisation," she said.

Further stating that if the Congress was truly committed in the fight against black money it would stand with the Centre, Sitharaman added that the government was fully prepared with the demonetisation but it would be unwise to expect a perfect scheme on such a large scale.

"If the Centre was not prepared then how did the new 2000 notes come out in such short time? The Government is sympathetic towards the problems, but a perfect system cannot be implemented on such a large scale in such a short time," she said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh earlier today appreciated the people of India for their cooperation in implementing the demonetisation policy, saying that "national pride" is supporting demonetisation, which is in the interest of the nation.

"I call this decision of the Prime Minister as historic, brave and in nation's interest. And, such decision can only be taken by a person, who does not do politics to form a government, but does politics in the interest of the nation," Singh told ANI.

"This decision will also improve the political structure, law and administration. It will also put an end on terrorism and insurgency. Not only this, it would also reduce the gap between rich and poor," he added.

However, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "double speak" on demonetisation.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced demonetisation to bring out black money and the BJP's Janardan Reddy is spending Rs. 500 crores on his daughter's wedding," he said.

"Even the Supreme Court has shown its concern that the situation of demonetisation may turn into riots, I have also shared the same concern a few days back. If this demonetisation on Rs. 500 and Rs 1000 rupee notes fails, then the country will go 20-25 years back," he added.

The apex court on Friday warned that there "may be riots" and refused the government's plea to stay cases filed against demonetisation in high courts and lower courts across the country, saying 'how can we shut our doors to people when there is a problem of such magnitude."

A Bench led by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur noted that people have started becoming "frantic" for money, braving queues for hours. The very fact that cases are being filed in courts all over is a signal that the problem is "serious and of magnitude," he observed. (ANI)