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Senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy today expressed strong displeasure with the central government over Prime Minister Narendra Modi refusing to meet an all-party delegation from Kerala, saying that it amounted to an insult to the state. He said the delegation wanted to highlight the "pain caused" to people due to demonetisation and alleged that the Prime Minister was "evading" a discussion in Parliament and undermining its sovereignty. "It is shocking that you have denied permission to this delegation which not only amounts to an insult to Kerala, but also to the federal structure of India enshrined in our Constitution.
Never before in the history of independent India has the Prime Minister declined to meet the delegation of a state," Chandy said in a letter to Modi.
The former Kerala chief minister also criticised the RBI for imposing restrictions on cooperative banks and said the sector accounted for more than Rs 1.30 lakh crore of total deposits in the state and played a crucial role in sustaining the rural economy.
He said high-value notes cannot be withdrawn through a notification, but only by an act of Parliament.
"Almost all political parties had welcomed the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and 1,000 notes as an anti-corruption measure. However, the ill-conceived and hastily implemented policy has plunged the common man's life abruptly into abyss for no fault of theirs," Chandy said, adding that nearly every section of society was reeling under the effects of demonetisation.
On the issue of bad debts, Chandy asked how can the Union government justify the decision to freeze Rs 7,000 crore or more loans of 63 willful defaulters?
"This suggests that the Union government is indulging in selective patronage and crony capitalism.
"It is also surprising to note that the Union government has taken no noteworthy steps to unearth and bring back the unaccounted black money in off-shore tax havens, which according to some reports, is more than Rs 30 lakh crore," he said.
Chandy also drew the Prime Minister's attention to the 'crisis' Kerala's co-operative sector is undergoing as a result of restrictions imposed by RBI in the context of demonetisation. He said the restrictions on withdrawal of cash from co-operative banks has crippled the co-operative sector and brought it to a grinding halt. He said the sector, which accounts for over Rs 1,30,000 crore of total deposits in Kerala, plays a crucial role in sustaining the state, especially the rural economy. Chandy said that all parties in Kerala, except BJP, had passed a resolution in the assembly, requesting the union government to ease the restrictions so that the co-operative sector can tide over the present crisis. "I take this opportunity to appeal to your good self to direct the RBI to do the needful at the earliest,"Chandy said in the letter. He said the Prime Minister should take Parliament and all state governments into confidence to evolve holistic strategies to solve this crisis.