Dr. Singh criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project - the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor, saying the project was "an exercise in vanity".
On the eve of first anniversary of demonetisation, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the note ban exercise and Goods and Services Tax (GST) were "badly designed and hastily implemented".
Congress party along with a few other opposition parties have made a decision to observe 8 Nov as the black day in India. "Demonetisation has proved too be mere bluster to reap political dividends while the real offenders have escaped. While denigrating the past the Prime Minister is also exaggerating what he will do in future".
Emphasizing the benefits of demonetisation-specifically, the message it sent out against black money-Jaitley reiterated that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had from its inception targeted black money by forming a special investigation team (SIT), amending the country's bilateral tax treaties and coming up with an anti-black money law. "It has been suggested many times in the past as one of the methods to eradicate black money, but as a responsible government we never took such a drastic measure because in our recent analysis the cost of demonetisation always exceeded the benefits very substantially", the former PM said.
While addressing the traders and businessmen in Ahmedabad on Tuesday morning, Manmohan Singh said that he was shocked to hear the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 Nov previous year and was thinking who could have suggested him to take such a reckless step.
Manmohan Singh said that "Black money and tax evasion are a menace that needs to be tackled, but note ban was not the solution". He said the twin (demonetisation & GST) blow was a complete disaster for India's economy that had broken the back of small businesses.
During his speech, he said that none of the stated objectives of eliminating black money, terror financing and counterfeit currency have been met. "And today, there isn't an worldwide agency which does not eulogise the kind and quality of the structural reforms Indian is making".
He also alleged that the fact that nearly 99% of the demonetized currency came back into the banking systems has punctured the government's claims.
Earlier addressing the India Today Conclave, Jaitley sought to puncture claims that demonetisation had adversely impacted the small and medium businesses, a bulk of which were in the unorganised sector.
"Even this is bound to be a gross underestimate as the pain of the informal sector is not adequately captured in the GDP calculations".
"The impact of demonetisation on the society's weaker sections and business was far more damaging than what economic indicators reveal". Every one percent loss of GDP annually costs our nation 1.5 lakh crore rupees.
Trinamul Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also hit out at the government, saying demonetisation was a big scam. He termed demonetisation "an attack" on the independence and credibility of RBI as an institution.
Singh said India's imports from China in the first half of the fiscal rose 23 per cent to ₹2.41 lakh crore, largely due to demonetisation and GST. "One of the important objectives of demonetisation was to make India a less-cash economy and, thereby, reduce the flow of black money in the system".