Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his government’s management of the economy, alleging that he was too busy “managing headlines and events”.
She also questioned the BJP government’s decision to push the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement — a regional free trade agreement of 16 Asian countries deliberations for which are being taken up in Bangkok — at the time when the economy has slowed down.
She was speaking to top leaders who were meeting to review preparations for a ten-day nationwide agitation to be launched from November 5. The agitation will culminate ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament with a rally in the national capital. Gandhi is likely to meet leaders of opposition parties next week to chalk out a common strategy.
Speaking at the meet, Gandhi said the Indian economy is under siege. “What is even more worrying is that the government is in complete denial. Instead of acknowledging the severe slowdown and looking for a comprehensive resolution, Prime Minister Modi is too busy managing headlines and events. This cavalier attitude comes at a high price. A price that millions of our fellow Indians especially the unemployed youth and farmers and fellow Indians are having to endure,” she said.
Questioning the government’s decision to sign the RCEP, she said,“This will result in untold hardship for our farmers, shopkeepers, small & medium enterprises, with serious repercussions for the people. We can ill-afford to become a dumping ground for products…” she said.
“As if economic decisions have not damaged the economy enough, it is now ready to deal a body blow to it by signing the RCEP,” Gandhi said.
She added that the economic crisis was snowballing each day.
“The GDP growth, at best, is only 5 per cent during the first quarter. It is not just a six-year low. This signifies a deep crisis. This is a sign of weak demand, low consumption, no investment and, as a result, no jobs. Unemployment levels at nearly 8.5 per cent are most disturbing… recent studies now suggest that demonetisation, a messed up GST and subsequent economic decisions resulted in an unprecedented loss of 9 million jobs in the last 6 years,” she said.
Hitting out at the government over the hike in prices of cooking gas, she said, “India’s economic woes are not confined to the domestic front. Inconsistent and defective policies have seen exports shrink at a time when India could have been a big beneficiary of the global trade wars.”
(With PTI inputs)