Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on Tuesday refused to be a member of a committee of the Chief Ministers (CMs) proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to suggest cashless transactions following demonetisation.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference Sarkar said, "Yesterday afternoon the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over phone informed that the Prime Minister wants to talk to me. The government wants suggestions on the present demonization with the aim of cashless transaction and which is good. They want to form a committee of CMs and in the panel want to include the Tripura CM."
"In my initial reaction I said that it is a highly technical matter and I have no personal experience or understand how much I can contribute into it. I wanted to know why all of a sudden I shall be there and he (Finance Minister) informed that there shall be CMs of few other states and most likely they also do not know much on it, however, there shall be representatives from the NITI Ayog and the Finance Ministry who shall brief on the matter and after which I can give my advice which will be of great help. To conclude our discussion I said that if the PM wishes it is very tough for the CM of any state to ignore it," he added.
Sarkar said to clear all confusions he had directly informed over the phone to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley about his decision not to take part in the meeting of the committee of Chief Ministers.
He said, "Later I felt that as I said this he (Finance Minister) might have understood that I have given my consent and so I contact him and said Mr Jaitley that I have not yet decided whether shall be part of the committee and so please do not keep my name for the time being and need time to think and shall let you know tomorrow what I have finally decided. He wanted to make me understand the matter and aware me why all of a sudden it was decided.
Now after thinking over the issue I have decided not to be part of the committee and everyone is aware about the situation throughout the nation. I told him that I can not be in the committee and not to keep my name but he said that it would be better if I would stay in the committee."
According to the Chief Minister, common people, small traders and daily labourers are the worst sufferers of the demonetisation.
"What is going on in the entire country after Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes have been banned and new Rs 2000 notes introduced. When one go to market with Rs 2000 note both customer and businessman can do business due crisis of change. There are crores of daily labourers and small businessman who depend on their daily income for the livelihood and in such a situation when 85 to 87 percent of the currency notes are of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes which have been withdrawn has created problem," said Sarkar.
He also suggested to give little relief to the common people the union government should allow the use of banned Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes till coming December 30.
He said, "So at least up to 30 December they should allow to use Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. In such a situation the digitization or cashless transaction is a tough thing for me to comment if it is good."
According to him, introduction of cashless transaction in a big country like India and such a huge population is quite a tough task and the present government's step towards it is totally mismanagement.
He added, "I gathered information and came to know that probably in only Sweden it is in practice and it is a very small nation with small population but even America which is the most powerful economy could not do this. How can our nation with a population of 1.25 crores do transaction with plastic money without adequate number of banks throughout the nation and also in Tripura."
Sarkar informed that the Left party to which he belongs had protested in rallies and called for strike against the demonetisation step of the centre and now if he takes part in such committee may mislead the common people and would like to keep away from it.
He said, "My participation in the committee means creation of confusion and we are trying to say our views on it from outside the Parliament. All of a sudden five to six CMs heading a committee will lead to confusions among the common people. Moreover, we have call for strike and took part in protest rallies against this, now if we participate it will create confusion.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)