Parliament panel probing domonetisation alternatives

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance headed by former corporate affairs minister and senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily has sought answers from finance ministry officials of any possible alternatives to demonetisation for achieving the desired goals.

With some members of the 31-member panel expressing concern over the impact of demonetisation on investor sentiment amidst a slowing GDP growth, the panel has decided to consult representatives of several union ministries and states to assess the impact.

The committee at its meeting today sought answers from finance ministry officials if any alternative course could have achieved the same goals as demonetisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley had, on different occasions, stated that checking black money, curbing terror-funding and promoting digitalisation of payments as the main objectives of the unprecedented move.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the demonetisation of high-value currency notes through a telivised address to the nation on 8 November last year.

Besides the demonetisation of the Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes, the panel is looking to several other issues.

The House panel discussed the issue with several senior officers, including economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, financial services secretary Rajiv Kumar and CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra on  the various aspects of the note-ban.

Since members of the committee wanted further explanations and views on the note ban for assessing its impact, the panel decided to call representative of ministries like agriculture and commerce for the purpose. The panel also decided to solicit the views of state governments on the issue.