Sunday, July 14, 2024

India rupee ban: Opposition parties begin ‘day of rage’

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Opposition workers have protested in the southern city of Bangalore. Photo Credit: BBC

Indian opposition parties say thousands will participate in nationwide protests against the government’s ban on two major currency notes.

Earlier this month, the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were banned overnight, causing chaos as people lined up at banks to exchange their old currency.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended the decision saying it was an anti-corruption measure.

But opposition parties say the move was mishandled.

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Last week, they stalled parliament and demanded Mr Modi should apologise for the decision.

Correspondents say it is unclear how much public momentum a day of protests will generate as many Indians have supported the move, despite the inconvenience it has caused them.

Most opposition parties have said they will participate in the so-called “day of rage”.

The southern state of Kerala, ruled by the Communists, is likely to see a shutdown, while a major protest rally has been planned in the eastern city of Kolkata.

In the southern city of Bangalore, the main opposition Congress party will hold a protest march, where several thousand people are expected to participate, according to the BBC’s Geeta Pandey.

‘Monumental mismanagement’

About 90% of India’s transactions are in cash and many people don’t have a bank account. The two banned notes accounted for about 86% of the cash in circulation.

In his first national address since the government banned the notes, Mr Modi called on Sunday for people to embrace digital payments and use less cash.

Last week, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government’s move to ban the much-used banknotes was “monumental mismanagement”, and that the country’s gross domestic product would fall “by about 2%” because of the move.

Mr Modi announced that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were no longer legal tender as part of a crackdown on corruption earlier this month.

There have been chaotic scenes in India ever since. People have been queuing for hours outside banks and cash machines which are fast running out of money.

In some instances the police have had to be called in to manage queues of anxious customers trying to change their savings in banned notes for legal tender.

 

Source: BBC

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