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Demonetisation, GST, lockdown were 'disaster-strokes': Congress attacks Centre over economy woes

Referring to FM Nirmala Sitharaman's observations that the the current COVID-19 induced economic crisis was an act of God, Congress said "this is the only government in the past 73 years which blames 'God' for its own frauds and bluster"

twitter-logoJoe C Mathew | September 3, 2020 | Updated 21:39 IST
Demonetisation, GST, lockdown were 'disaster-strokes': Congress attacks Centre over economy woes

Opposition party Indian National Congress (INC) has said that demonetisation, GST implimentation and lockdown, considered 'master strokes' by Narendra Modi-led government, were 'disaster strokes'.

In a statement, INC spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that India is being pushed towards a 'financial emergency'. "Lives, livelihoods and jobs have been ravaged. Businesses and small and medium industries lie dilapidated. The economy stands destroyed as GDP has been razed and mowed down," Surjewala said.

Congress accused Modi Government of plundering the economy in the last six years by its 'acts of frauds'. Referring to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's observations that the the current COVID-19 induced economic crisis was an act of God, Surjewala said "this is the only government in the past 73 years which blames 'God' for its own frauds and bluster".

"Reduction of GDP in the first quarter of FY 2021 (a first since Independence) will have a diabolical impact on the average income of every Indian. The second quarter (July to September) will be even worse. If GDP for the full year 2020-21 was to fall to -11%, it would lead to reduction of at least Rs 14,900 in the income of every Indian. On one side, inflation is hitting the common man. On the other, unprecedented surges in taxes and an economy in free fall has broken the back of people," Congress stated.

The party said micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) of India are having a 'confidence deficit' in Modi government. "They will tell you that neither do the banks extend loans or financial assistance nor does the word of the Finance Minister have any meaning. On the other hand, banks have no faith in the government and the government has no faith in the RBI. States have no faith in the central government. An atmosphere of distrust is all prevailing," Congress stated.

The party also said that due to economic distress, 40 crore Indians are being pushed below the poverty line and 80 lakh people were forced to withdraw Rs 30,000 crore from their EPFO accounts. "Between April to July 2020, two crore salaried people lost their jobs. In the unorganised sector, 10 crore jobs were lost during the lockdown. Out of 6.3 crore MSME units in the country, only one-fourth are able to operate at 50 per cent of their capacity. Majority of these units are lying shut or are on the verge of permanent closure," the statement pointed out.

Congress also criticised the government for failing to compensate the states for the GST revenue loss as promised. "For the first time in the last 73 years, Government of India is a declared defaulter. In the meeting of 'Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance' dated August 11, 2020, the Finance Secretary clearly said that central government is not in a position to give GST compensation to states. The latest SBI report of September 1, 2020, predicts a shortfall and revenue loss of 3 lakh crore in GST collections for the states. How will states meet their expenses? This is economic anarchy," Congress said.

The statement also accused the government of not taking care of the interests of the middle class citizens, farmers and labourers.

"The Prime Minister is too occupied in image makeover by feeding the peacocks, creating photo opportunities, changing dresses and ensuring that television is his only vision. Time to rise from the shackles of this ruinous Modi government and rediscover the aspirations and hopes of India," Surjewala said.

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