New Delhi–In a sharp attack on demonetisation, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday called it a “disaster” while former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said latest GDP data showed India’s economic growth had slowed down sharply.

Speaking at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting here, Gandhi said the prediction of Manmohan Singh, an economist himself, that the demonetisation would slow down India’s economic growth had proved right.

Gandhi also said the government’s experiments and policies were characterised by poor planning and shoddy implementation.

Manmohan Singh

“They have been disastrous for our social and economic fabric. If we just look at demonetisation, which was touted as a great success, till today the government refuses to disclose how much of the demonetised currency in circulation was actually returned to the banks.

“It isn’t that the Reserve Bank of India has forgotten how to count money; it is that the actual numbers show that the scheme was a disaster. The recently released growth figures prove that Manmohan Singh’s forecast that demonetisation will slow down economic growth is correct,” Gandhi said.

The Congress chief said not just demonetisation but even the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Narendra Modi government had failed to create jobs or attract investment.

“Unemployment is rampant. Farmers across the country are in severe distress, forcing them to commit suicide. Manifesto promises that should have been fulfilled in 2019 are now being shifted to 2022,” she said.

Intervening in the discussion on the economic situation, Manmohan Singh said Gross Value Added (GVA), a true sub-measure of economic activity, had experienced a steep and sustained fall.

Sonia Gandhi

“Private sector investment has collapsed and the economy is running on just one engine of public spending. The GVA growth of industry has fallen from 10.7 per cent in March 2016 to just 3.8 per cent in March 2017, a decline of nearly seven percentage points of growth,” Singh said, referring to the Gross Domestic Product numbers for the fourth quarter as well as the entire 2016-17 fiscal released last week.

Manmohan Singh had attacked demonetisation in Parliament, describing it as a “monumental mismanagement” and a case of “organised loot and legalised plunder”. He had said it will drag the country’s GDP by 2 percentage points.

Singh told the CWC: “The most worrisome aspect of all this is the impact on job creation. Jobs have been extremely hard to come by for the youths. The construction industry — one of the largest employment generators in the country — has suffered a contraction. This implies loss of millions of jobs.”