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Sarkar turns down PM’s offer to be member of digital transactions panel

Agartala: Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar on Tuesday refused the offer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be a member of the proposed chief ministerial committee for formulating a strategy to promote cashless transaction.

Talking to the media, Sarkar said Union finance minister Arun Jaitely called him on Monday to say that Modi wants him to be a member of the committee to be constituted for promotion of digital mode of transaction. "I told him clearly that I am not conversant with the issue and might not be competent to contribute in the process. But I requested him to give me some time to take a final decision. Today, I conveyed my decision that I will not be in the committee," he added.

He claimed that the decision was taken after a detailed study of the prospects of cashless transaction in India in the light of global experience.

"At present, every individual needs to concentrate on addressing the problem of cash crisis of smaller denominations and to bring sufficient 500 rupee notes in circulation. Except Sweden, no other country has been able to make cashless transactions, not even America. How can a highly populated country like India do it?" questioned Sarkar.

The chief minister said, "A large number of people still are not habituated to bank transactions. Small traders, daily wagers and the poor have been dependent on cash transactions. The demonetisation of high-value notes has hit business and market activities in the villages."

He added that the Reserve Bank of India is changing its monetary policy daily after taking into account the sufferings of people. He demanded strengthening of banking infrastructure and a robust telecom network before going totally digital.