On the first anniversary on demonetisation, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of bypassing the Reserve Bank of India, destroying the informal labour sector and “wiping out many small and medium business”.
“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,” he wrote in an opinion piece that appeared in the Financial Times.
Rahul Gandhi wrote that PM Modi’s decision to scrap high demonetisation notes has “wiped out confidence” in India’s booming economy.
“Demonetisation has wiped out 2 percent of India’s gross domestic product, destroyed the informal labour sector and has wiped out many small and medium businesses. It has ruined the lives of millions of hard-working Indians. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy has calculated that over 1.5m people lost their jobs in the first four months of 2017 due to demonetisation,” he wrote.
The Congress vice-president also claimed that “a hastily imposed and poorly conceptualised” has dealt a double blow to the economy.
“Bureaucratic and complex, it has devastated livelihoods, creating a modern day ‘Licence Raj’ that imposes rigid controls and gives vast powers to government officials,” he wrote.
On the rise of China as a manufacturing power hub, Rahul Gandhi said India can take on the challenge by empowering the network of micro, small and medium businesses.
“We urgently need to empower these networks and connect them to capital and technology. But instead of helping them grow, the Modi government has fatally wounded them with demonetisation and a flawed new tax.
The challenge for liberal democracies across the world is to compete with Chinese organisation in a world with 21st-century levels of connectivity while maintaining our liberal values,” he wrote.
Rahul Gandhi is in Surat today to lead a candlelight vigil as part of the Opposition parties’ protest against Demonetisation.