Suf­fer­ing is huge, vot­ers will vent their anger in elec­tions: Akhilesh

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Sri­nand Jha

NEW DELHI: The govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to junk 500- and 1,000ru­pee notes has caused “huge suf­fer­ing” to the com­mon peo­ple who will vent their anger in the up­com­ing elec­tions, Ut­tar Pradesh chief min­is­ter Akhilesh Yadav said on Fri­day.

Speak­ing on the first day of the 14th Hin­dus­tan Times Lead­er­ship Sum­mit, Yadav said the sur­prise de­ci­sion to re­call high-value bills had bol­stered the Sa­ma­jwadi Party ahead of state polls early next year.

“When you make com­mon peo­ple suf­fer, they will vent their anger… be­cause of the cur­rency short­age, lead­ers of all par­ties will have to re­sort to the bi­cy­cle (the SP’s elec­tion sym­bol),” Yadav said to ap­plause and laugh­ter from the au­di­ence.

“Gov­ern­ments should work for peo­ple’s wel­fare by en­cour­ag­ing spend­ing. But the BJP govern­ment has caused such dif­fi­cul­ties to the com­mon man. Peo­ple are break­ing down their ‘gul­lak’ (piggy banks) to meet daily needs,” Yadav said.

He re­jected govern­ment claims thatthe­cur­ren­cyswitch­will­stamp out il­le­gal cash, point­ing to me­dia re­portsabout­fake­vari­antsof even the­newcur­ren­cy­bills.“Fakedebit and credit cards are also avail­able in the mar­ket,” he added. NEW DELHI: It is dif­fi­cult to see ma­jor gains from In­dia’s de­ci­sion to drain out high-value ban­knotes from the econ­omy, and the move might only force the corrupt to be­comem­o­re­care­fulinthe­fu­ture, No­bel lau­re­ate and econ­o­mist Paul Krug­man said on Fri­day.

In­stead, Krug­man said, there will be sig­nif­i­cant-to-low costs to the so-called de­mon­eti­sa­tion, although he still saw In­dia as a high-prospect econ­omy.

Speak­ing at the 14th HT Lead­er­ship Sum­mit, the 63-yearold econ­o­mist said there was a good case to be made that high de­nom­i­na­tion ban­knotes didn’t serve a le­git­i­mate pur­pose.

“But that did not hap­pen here. High-value notes are not be­ing elim­i­nated. This seems like a one-off at­tempt to flush out il­licit cash,” Krug­man said of the govern­ment de­ci­sion to scrap 500and 1,000-ru­pee bills to purge the econ­omy of il­licit “black money”.

The govern­ment has is­sued new 500- and 2,000-ru­pee bills, and said it will later bring back new 1,000 notes as well.

Akhilesh Yadav

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