New Delhi, Nov 2: Continuing her attack on the Narendra Modi Government on the state of the Indian Economy, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said that the government instead of acknowledging the severe slowdown and looking for a comprehensive resolution, is too busy managing headlines and events.
Addressing the gathering of party general secretaries, state in-charge and heads of frontal organisations, at AICC headquarters, Ms Gandhi said that as a citizen and as a member of the responsible opposition, it pains her to see the Indian economy under siege. The meeting was attended by senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel, Motilal Vora, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik along with AICC in-charge of organisation KC Venugopal.
While AICC general secretary Priyaka Gandhi Vadra attended the meeting, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi was not present, as he is on a 'meditational visit' abroad, according to the party. Taking on the government over the state of the Indian economy, Ms Gandhi said that the government's 'cavalier attitude' comes at a high price, and added that it was "a price that millions of our fellow Indian especially the unemployed youth and farmers are having to endure".
"The economic crisis is worsening by the day. The GDP growth, is at best only 5 per cent during the first quarter. It is not just a six year low. This signifies deep crisis. This is a sign of weak demand, low consumption, no investment and, as a result no jobs", she added.
The Congress president said that unemployment levels at nearly 8.5 per cent was most disturbing. "Far from creating jobs, recent studies now suggest that demonetisation, a messed up GST and subsequent economic decisions of the Modi government have resulted in an unprecedented loss of 9 million jobs during the last 6 years", Ms Gandhi said.
Referring to the issues faced by women, the Congress president criticised government’s attitude to women and issues that concern them. Criticising the sharp hike in prices of non subsidised LPG cylinder, she said,' No sooner than the recent assembly elections were over the government gives up the pretence of holding down the price of subsidised gas cylinder. It hiked the price by an enormous Rs. 77 per cylinder about 10 per cent in one go.' Pointing to farmers plight, Ms Gandhi said India’s rural economy has collapsed with growth rate hardly of 2 per cent in the first quarter.
"They were promised that their income would be doubled in a short period but are left to battling a deceleration in wages while prices have shot up. This perhaps explains why the sale of FMCG goods in rural India, has recently hit a 7-year low", she added. India’s economic woes are not confined to the domestic front, Ms Gandhi said and added that "inconsistent and defective policies have seen exports shrink at a time when India could have been a big beneficiary of the global trade wars".
Referring to the signing of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), she said that as if the government’s economic decisions have not damaged the economy enough, it is now ready to deal a body blow to it by signing the RCEP.
"This will result in untold hardship for our farmers, shopkeepers, small and medium enterprises with serious repercussions for the people. We can ill afford to become a dumping ground for products – including agricultural produce from foreign countries, `` Ms Gandhi added.
She charged the ruling dispensation of consistently weakening institutions, withholding data and tampering with statistics all of which have resulted in the erosion of India’s economic credibility. "It is unfortunate that economic experts who point this out are ridiculed and labeled anti-nationals. Independent thinking and even constructive criticism are arrogantly brushed aside, she said.
The Congress president further alleged that the Modi government has done snooping and spying activities on activists, journalists and political persons through Israeli spyware Pegasus. "These activities are not only illegal and unconstitutional, they are also shameful", she added. (UNI)