NEW DELHI: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “robbing” the country of its economic prowess and “damaging” India by converting people’s anger due to joblessness into “communal hatred”.
On the first anniversary of demonetisation, which he termed a “tragedy”, Gandhi said livelihood of millions of honest Indians were destroyed due to this “thoughtless act” of the prime minister.
“Modi’s reforms have robbed India of its economic prowess,” he alleged in an article in ‘Financial Times’ that said demonetisation has wiped out 2 percentage points of GDP growth and “ruined” the lives of millions of workers.
Gandhi said the prime minister claimed his decision was aimed at wiping out corruption, but “twelve months on the only thing he has wiped out is confidence in our once booming economy”. The Congress vice president alleged that demonetisation destroyed the informal labour sector and has wiped out many small and medium businesses.
“Mr Modi has damaged India by converting anger created by joblessness and lack of economic opportunity into communal hatred. He has chosen to hide behind a shallow, hate-filled political narrative. Anger might have brought Mr Modi to power but it will never create jobs or fix India’s institutions,” Gandhi said in the article.
Taking a dig at the government, he tweeted in Hindi, “Ek aansu bhi hukumat ke liye khatra hai, tumne dekha nahin aankhon ka samundar hona” (Even a single tear is a danger for the government, you have not seen eyes turning into an ocean).” “Demonetisation is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians, whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act,” he said on Twitter.
Quoting the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, Gandhi said 1.5 million people have lost their jobs in the first four months of 2017 due to demonetisation, which he termed as an “arbitrary and unilateral” decision of the prime minister.
He also said the “hastily imposed and poorly conceptualised” goods and services tax “dealt another blow to our economy”. “Bureaucratic and complex, it (GST) has devastated livelihoods, creating a modern day ‘Licence Raj’ that imposes rigid controls and gives vast powers to government officials,” he said.
Gandhi, in his article, lauded the Chinese dominance in the manufacturing sector with its global share rising from 3% in 1990s to 25% now, and said that while China creates 50,000 jobs a day, India under Modi creates mere 500 jobs a day.
“This advantage comes with a brutal cost — China’s people are not free to speak, to dissent or to question and those that do are swiftly and severely punished. This is not a model India should emulate,” he, however, said.