Veteran leader VS Achuthanandan said that the BJP’s decisions on demonetisation would make people queue up to vote against the party in 2019

Co-op sector is Keralas backbone not black money hub Pinarayi hits out
news Demonetisation Friday, November 18, 2016 - 12:53

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other prominent leaders of the Left Democratic Front kicked off a protest demonstration on Friday outside the RBI office in Thiruvananthapuram against the central bank’s decision to prohibit co-operative banks from exchanging demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. 

The RBI’s decision has brought to a standstill the multi-level cooperative banking network in the state, which has deposits of Rs 52,000 crores and deals with loans worth Rs 30,000 crores. 

Speaking at the protest, the CM said that the majority of deposits in cooperative sector banks in the state comprise savings of the common man and not black money as the BJP is alleging.

He said that 70% of farmers in the state depend on cooperative banks for agricultural loans, as only these banks follow the correct principles of lending, and that banks in the co-operative sector function with an ethic of social responsibility rather than focusing on commercial gains alone. He added that the various co-operative ventures in the state function on principles of public service.

““The BJP leaders say Kerala’s cooperative sector is filled with black money. Their aim is to destroy the sector. We have a tradition of effectively serving the public through cooperative consumer stores, by providing goods to them at lower rates without taking a high profit margin. We set up Neethi medical stores to provide medicines to the public at affordable rates,” the CM pointed out.

CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, who also participated in the protest, said that the RBI’s decision would hit at the backbone of Kerala’s economy, and badly affect the common man’s life in the state.

“The co-operative sector is the backbone of Kerala, not only of the economy but also of the general public,” he said, adding that the CPI (M) would undertake an all-India protest to convince the government not to create anarchy in Kerala’s financial system. 

“The message the PM is giving the people is that he controls people’s lives. We the people of this country are sovereign and will not tolerate this anarchy,” Yechury said. 

“The CPI (M) solemnly pledges to the rest of the country that the PM’s anarchic move will not affect the lives of the people," he added.

Veteran leader VS Achuthanandan said that the government’s decisions on the demonetisation question were anti-people and could not be allowed to continue. 

"For the last 10 days, demonetisation has been creating trouble in people’s lives, but neither the BJP nor the Prime Minister seem to be bothered by it. With this bizarre decision, Modi has now become the people’s enemy. We should not allow this to continue and the Centre must withdraw its decision,” VS said. 

“In the election of 2019, people will queue outside polling booths to vote against the BJP,” he added. 

Following the protest, the CPI (M) has also called for an all-party meeting on Saturday to discuss the future course of action. 

It is not only Kerala’s LDF government that is against the RBI’s decision to exclude co-operative sector banks from the currency exchange process, as the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Odisha and Maharashtra had also written to the Prime Minister demanding his intervention in favour of co-operative banks. 

However, the Centre has reportedly maintained that cooperative banks cannot be given the same rights as nationalised banks.



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