Is the government shying away from acknowledging the findings of report on demonetisation by the Standing Committee on Finance? The Opposition believes so.

According to sources, the report of the 31-member Committee headed by senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily is unlikely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha because it appears to be very critical of the November 2016 demonetisaion, which the government claims is one of its biggest achievements.

Demonetisation was one of 18 subjects that the Committee addressed. Interestingly, the term of the Committee, which was constituted on September 1, 2017, expires on August 31, 2018: according to the rules, the term of Office of these Committees is a year. And if no report is finalised in the next three days, it will be not be possible to table it.

In such a situation, rules say, the present Committee may report to the House that it has not been able to complete its work. Also, any preliminary report, memorandum or note that the Committee may have prepared or any evidence that it may have taken shall be made available to a new Committee.

The present Committee comprises 21 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha. The BJP accounts for 13 members (which is the most from any party); the Congress has four; the AIADMK has three; the Shiv Sena, the TMC and the TDP have two each; and BJD, the SDF, the JD(U), and the CPI (M) have one member each. There is also one nominated member.

Congress blames BJP

According to the Congress, the main Opposition, the BJP is stonewalling the procedures using its numerical strength on the Committee. “Every sentence in the statement on demonetisation made by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha has proven true. The entire process, as he said, was legalised loot and organised plunder. As a result of it, people have lost confidence in banks,” Congress spokesperson Jaipal Reddy said.

Another Opposition member, who was present at the panel’s meeting on Monday, said no drafts were sent to the members.

According to sources, the draft report says about 1 per cent of GDP was lost owing to demonetisation. It also points to job losses arising from the decision to invalidate ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes illegal, which effectively invalidated over 80 per cent of notes in circulation.

A few BJP members are believed to have sent a letter to the Chairman against the findings of the report. They are also believed to have said that they would seek a vote before the finalisation of the report. Under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha, reports should be based on a broad consensus.