On July 14, the Indian rupee dipped to nearly 80 to a US dollar, at an all-time low of 79.99. It recovered 8 paise to settle at Rs 79.91 mark on Friday. This will make imports of items from crude oil to electronic goods, overseas education and foreign travel costlier. Inflation could also worsen.
The Opposition leaders took to social media to slam the Narendra Modi government by pointing out how the BJP was critical of the previous Congress-led UPA government over the same issue before coming to power in 2014.
Sharing a clip of Modi then attacking the UPA government on the issue saying in Hindi that “the country is in the throes of despair,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “As much as you used to make noise at that time, today you are as ‘silent’ seeing the rupee depreciating rapidly”.
“देश निराशा की गर्त में डूबा है”
ये आपके ही शब्द हैं ना, प्रधानमंत्री जी?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 15, 2022
In another tweet, Gandhi spoke of the reactions that the BJP had each time the rupee fell, saying that when the rupee was at 50 to a US dollar, it was being termed as “India in crisis”, while at 70, the situation was being referred to as “Atmanirbhar (self-reliant)” , and that at 80, the time is being called “Amritkaal (a magical time)”. Both the words have been repeatedly used by the BJP to describe their rule and policies.
In an email interview with the news agency PTI on July 16, senior Congress leader and ex-Union finance minister P Chidambaram said the currency’s decline was “inevitable” due to “India’s current account deficit “high inflation”, adding: “The exchange rate must be viewed as a ‘price’. It is one of the ‘trinity’ that the RBI has to manage. The rupee will gain only when the fundamentals improve,” he said.
He also criticised Prime Minister Modi’s “one million job” drive, and said that it would not help ease the “employment crisis” in the country.
40 : ‘Refreshing’
50 : ‘India in crisis’
60 : ICU
70 : Atmanirbhar
80 : Am₹itkaal
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 14, 2022
Responding to the issue on Thursday, the joint Opposition’s Presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha, who was also a former finance minister, said, “Our foreign exchange reserve was USD (US dollars) 641 billion. In saving the rupee’s downfall, the RBI has spent USD 45 billion…A grim situation is developing. Our huge foreign exchange reserves are depleting very fast. The rupee is sliding down against the USD. It has already touched 79.86 mark against the dollar,” adding that “The government should come up with a reply. The rupee was 58.44 against the dollar in 2014 when Narendra Modi became the prime minister…He used to say earlier that if (former PM) Manmohan Singh was so intelligent, then why was the value of rupee was falling”.
The Congress has been adopting the hashtag “ab ki baar, 80 paar (This time around, it is past 80)”, a play on the BJP’s poll slogan “ab ki baar, Modi sarkar (This time around, the Modi government)” to spotlight the problem.
This lack of concern in the Modi government over falling foreign exchange reserves, record trade deficit and the crashing Rupee is as worrying as this sharp fall. The government must come out with a white paper and explain its mismanagement. https://t.co/Uc6b97biKi
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) July 14, 2022
Alleging that it has “been 7 months since the rupee started depreciating and that the BJP government was “asleep,” the official Congress account criticised earlier statements made by the BJP, and asserted that the Congress-led government had taken “four months to control” the depreciation in the value of the rupee against the dollar. On July 15, the account also said that as the rupee falls, “it engulfs all under its wrath”.
Supriya Shrinate, the Congress spokesperson, said at a press conference at the AICC headquarters on Friday, that the “RBI has spent around $40 bn since January”, adding that “they (the ruling government) are still not able to arrest the fall of the rupee”.
At the same conference, she also alleged that “foreign investors” had “no faith in Mr. Modi, his government, and his policies.”
आपकी नज़र में “रुपया” और प्रधानमंत्री की “गरिमा” का गिरना राष्ट्रहित में है या BJP हित में? pic.twitter.com/P3fhaiuMYE
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) July 14, 2022
Shama Mohamed, another Congress spokesperson, put out a tweet on Saturday saying that “the #Rupee hit new record lows a whopping 26 times” just this year and that it was a “testament to the economic incompetence of the BJP govt.” She further went on to add that “Had the BJP protected the Rupee like it does PM Modi’s image, the Rupee wouldn’t have come close to breaching 80 v $!”
Sharing an image that said in Hindi that the “rupee falls only under the government that is fallen,” the AAP tweeted on July 14 to ask “if the fall of ‘rupee’ and ‘dignity’ of the Prime Minister” was “in the interest of the nation or in the interest of the BJP?”
Demanding a “white paper” to “explain its management”, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet on July 15 that the “lack of concern in the Modi government over falling foreign exchange reserves, record trade deficit and the crashing Rupee” was “as worrying as this sharp fall”.
Telangana IT minister K Taraka Rama Rao, popularly known as KTR, retweeted a post that also hit out at the BJP’s concerns for the rupee falling during the UPA regime. Sharing a news article of a statement of Modi’s, from 2013, when he said that the Indian Rupee at 62 in comparison to the US dollars “was so powerless that we needed a Microscope,” the tweet said that at “80”, the rupee would need a “nanoscope”.