In the run-up to the Assembly polls in Gujarat, the Congress on Saturday dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation initiative as “India’s biggest scam”. Mounting an all-out offensive against the PM, former finance minister P Chidambaram claimed that the “demonetisation was nothing but a scheme to help some people who had black money convert it into white.”
Chidambaram, who was speaking at a public interaction organised by Mumbai Youth Congress further termed demonetisation as the “biggest man-made disaster to hit the country; worse than the 2004 Tsunami tragedy.”
Reiterating that the India’s GDP had dropped a total 2.7 percentage points in six consecutive quarters since Modi had rolled out demonetisation, he said, “between demonetisation and the GST, they (the Modi government) has derailed the country’s economy.”
Reaching out to the youth, Chidambaram further stated that the economic disruption had adversely hit the job market. “In the last 12 months alone, the country’s formal sector has lost 15 lakh jobs. The informal sector, too, has lost millions of jobs. Nobody is hiring these days,” he said, adding, “jobless growth is a ticking time bomb.”
Chidambaram said that none of the objectives spelt out by the Prime Minister while rolling out the demonetisation drive had been achieved.
He also accused the government of giving the “GST a bad name.” He said, “This is not the GST that the Congress first spoke about. The GST is a good tax, but they (the Modi government) have given it a bad name. We are calling it the Gabbar Singh’s Tax.”
Reminding the audience that the Congress under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh charted India’s positive growth story in the post liberalisation era, Chidambaram said, “there is a need to put the economy back on track. And it is in you who will decide who can do this.”
On being asked why the World Bank and IMF chief’s had not been critical of Modi’s demonetisation, the former finance minister said they have never criticised member nations. “They will make soothing statements. You should not take these seriously.”