New Delhi: The Congress today accused the Modi government of “destroying” the economy and said growth can be achieved only if the country is rescued from "incompetent economic managers".
The party, at its 84th plenary session here, adopted a resolution on the economy which said sustained economic growth was the path towards becoming a middle-income developed country. This path, the Congress said, can lift the people out of poverty and create a large, vibrant and productive middle class.
It will also create wealth and generate government revenues that will enable the state to spend adequately to attain social and redistributive justice, the party said. “Such sustained economic growth can be achieved only if the country can be rescued from the hands of incompetent economic managers and entrusted to those who have for many years nurtured the economy and guided it on the path of all-round economic development," the resolution said.
“We have heard the clamour for change. It is now time for change,” it said. Moving the resolution, former Finance minister P Chidambaram said, “We have done it before and we will do it again.” He accused the Modi government of squandering a golden opportunity to catapult India's growth after economic gains during the previous UPA government, through its mismanagement and flawed policies.
The country faces a crisis and will go into a deeper crisis in the last year of this government as this budget has provided no answers, Chidambaram claimed. “This budget is the handiwork of a government which is completely helpless, clueless and directionless. I am afraid, 12 months from today, whoever comes into the government, will face a major crisis," he said.
“The one party which can bring this country out of crisis is the Congress. Why do I say that? I say that not out of arrogance, not out of conceit, I say this because we have done it before and we can do it again beginning next year,” the former Union minister said. Promising the industry that there will be no tax "terrorism", no veiled threats, no "midnight knocks" on doors, he said, “We will lift fear and we will allow you to create wealth.” The resolution said that the tenure of the Narendra Modi-led government was replete with governance and management misadventures and mistakes.
“The most colossal failure has been its mismanagement of the economy,” it said. The Modi government was presented with a golden opportunity to catapult India's economic growth to a new high through a near perfect alignment of stars – an upswing in the economy, macro-economic stability after the upheaval of the 2008 global financial crisis, the resolution said.
"The Congress reiterates that the abysmal economic management of the Modi government has resulted in lack of jobs for millions of India's youth, stagnant real incomes for hundreds of millions of farmers, collapse of the manufacturing sector, destruction of micro, small and medium businesses, paralysis of India's banking sector," it said These have severely dented business confidence and expectations of households, the resolution said.
“The economy is in the hands of ignorant and incompetent policy makers who have derailed economic growth through reckless and bizarre policies such as demonetisation and a hasty imposition of a flawed Goods and Services Tax regime,” it said. Citing the economic survey, Chidambaram said there were three main challenges which were not addressed in the last four years, education, health, agriculture and employment .
“And then the most severe indictment in the last four years, real agricultural GDP and real agricultural income as have remained stagnant," he said. “I want to ask the BJP, I want to ask the prime minister, if in four years you did not address the challenge of education or health or agriculture or employment, if in four years the farm sector has become relatively poorer, if in four years the average farmer has become relatively poorer, what have you been doing in the last four years? This is a question the prime minister must answer,” he said.
Chidambaram said that the note ban was a “big lie, there cannot be a greater lie than demonetisation". "They said we will abolish black money, we will put an end to corruption. We will stop fake currency. Have they put an end to black money? Every rally, every public meeting of the prime minister is financed by any money other than black money," he said.
"Have they put an end to corruption, fake currency?” Chidambaram asked. (PTI)