The reconstituted Parliamentary Committee on Finance, headed by M. Veerappa Moily of the Congress, could not build a consensus on the long-pending report on demonetisation with BJP members continuing to oppose its finalisation.
A draft report on demonetisation, which was circulated last year, looks at the impact of the move and whether it managed to meet the government’s stated objectives.
The report, however, could not be tabled either in the winter or monsoon sessions of Parliament as the BJP members protested.
The previous committee’s term ended on August 31 and the panel was reconstituted on September 19, with five new members.
Mr. Moily continues to be its Chairman. According to sources, Wednesday’s meeting saw Mr. Moily once again raise the issue of the pending report on demonetisation.
The panel’s BJP members, including Nishikant Dubey, MP from Jharkhand, and Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekar, raised at least three points opposing the finalisation of the report.
These MPs contended that it would not look good if the majority of the committee’s members filed a dissent note on the draft report. Secondly, as there were five new members in the committee, they argued that these members too needed to be given an opportunity and the time to provide their inputs to the report. This will take time, since they will have to study the existing evidence and minutes of the previous meetings of the committee.
The BJP members also said newer evidence, including a report by the Reserve Bank of India, had come up since the draft report was circulated almost six months ago and these needed to be factored into the report.
According to the sources, Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi asserted that the committee could no longer ignore the report after having worked on it for so long. The RBI Governor had deposed twice before the committee and senior bureaucrats too had spent several man hours for the committee.
“If consensus can’t be built, then so be it. We are duty-bound to deliver the report to Parliament,” Mr. Trivedi is said to have told the committee, according to the sources. Mr. Moily too sought to remind the committee that the report did not reflect only the Chairman’s views but those of the committee as well. He said the report had been drawn up after collecting evidence from various sources and needed to be brought to its logical conclusion.
“We will deliberate on the issue once more and will call in more witnesses. The report will be tabled soon,” Mr. Moily said.