11/26/2016, 10.02
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Manmohan Singh: Rupees recall a failure, legalized theft

After more than two weeks, the situation for the poor and the middle class is worsening. Long queues at ATMs remain, protests and clashes have caused 70 deaths. Bankers caught stealing money suspended. Opposition parties propose the "day of rage".

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has slammed the economic measures of current prime minister Narendra Modi, who recalled 500 and 1000 rupees banknotes, terming it a "monumental failure of management".

In a rare public statement since losing the elections two years ago, Singh said that "the initiative can weaken and erode the trust of our people in the monetary and banking system ". Then he ruled: "It is legalized theft".

A Catholic AsiaNews source reports the tribulations of the Indian population, especially the poor and middle class, which for more than two weeks find themselves fighting every day in long queues at the counters of banks, without any money to buy food.

The decision to withdraw the most counterfeited banknotes has thrown millions of people to poverty and is likely to lead the country to revolt. At the beginning, the source continues, everyone "was excited, really everyone expected that the prime minister would eliminate the forgery market".

 But then with every passing day everything crashed "due to largescale disorganization. For example, the day before yesterday [24 November] was the last day that some businesses, such as gas stations, were able to accept the old rupees. Now it is no longer possible, and every day new rules are imposed ".

The increase in tension, with numerous episodes of violence have so far resulted in 70 deaths.  It has also resulted in the "proliferation of video caricatures of protagonists, first of all the 63 big businessmen friends of the premier aided by the banks. There are cartoons of them intent on eating money. "

The irony of the social network however, cannot resolve the very real social concerns and accusations against Prime Minister Modi. "For days - the source continues- the parties have been waiting for him in Parliament but he hasn’t shown up for the sessions. Modi is accused of wanting to change the country in a short time, but he realized that India was not ready. He wanted to turn us into a 'cashless economy' like America, ie economy based on credit cards. But this is not possible here. " Yet, the source concludes, "Modi was not rich, he comes from a family of humble origins and knows how the majority of the population live. Now everyone says that he has forgotten to live like ordinary people. "

Another accusation leveled at the prime minister, is to have underestimated how "it works India: many bankers have been suspended because they were caught stealing money. For example, out of a total of 10 million rupees given to banks to replace the old money, executives will pocket half. Modi wanted to close the door to counterfeiting, but did not understand the Indian mindset, which always finds new solutions to a closing a door, by opening another 100 gates ".

The source does not hide concerns for the next days. The leaders of 13 opposition parties have called upon the Indian people to hold a "day of rage" for next Monday [28 November]. "We do not exclude - he concludes - the possibility of violent demonstrations. Unfortunately, we have already seen them. Then Modi’s attitude is  worsening the situation, branding those who protest as ‘unpatriotic".

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