Our correspondent /New Delhi
The Congress today lashed out at the Narendra Mod government for what it called of indulging in a mismanagement of the Indian economy, resulting in loss of jobs for youth, stagnant real incomes for farmers, collapse of the manufacturing sector, destruction of micro, small and medium businesses, paralysis of India’s banking sector and a severe dent in business confidence and rising inflation expectations of households.
The economic resolution, adopted at the 84th plenary session of the Congress with an amendment to include a reference to the plight of the fisherman community slammed the NDA government for its demonetisation policy, flawed implementation of the goods and services tax, non fulfilment of promise to provide jobs to youth, the series of bank scams and issue of farmers distress.
The resolution, moved on the second day of the plenary session by senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, said that the sustained economic growth is the path toward becoming a middle-income developed country and the path to lifting the poor out of poverty, something which could only be achieved by rescuing the country from the ‘incompetent economic managers’ and entrusting to those ‘’who have for many years nurtured the economy and guided it on the path of all-round economic development’’.
‘’We have heard the clamour for change. It is now time for change,’’it said.
Slamming the government for mismanagement of the economy, the resolution said,’’the Modi government was presented with a golden opportunity to catapult India’s economic growth to a new high through a near perfect alignment of stars – an upswing in the economy, macro-economic stability after the upheaval of the 2008 global financial crisis, low oil prices (from over 100 US dollars to under 40 US dolalts per barrel), robust global economic growth and an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. Sadly, the government has squandered a golden opportunity.
The Indian National Congress reiterates that the abysmal economic management of the Modi government has resulted in lack of jobs for millions of India’s youth, stagnant real incomes for hundreds of millions of farmers, collapse of the manufacturing sector, destruction of micro, small and medium businesses, paralysis of India’s banking sector, a severe dent in business confidence and rising inflation expectations of households. The economy is in the hands of ignorant and incompetent policy makers who have derailed economic growth through reckless and bizarre policies such as demonetisation and a hasty imposition of a flawed Goods and Services Tax regime.’’
The resolution listed job generation for youth, providing high quality education, healthcare and social safety net for hundreds of millions of the very poor, evolving a balanced labour policy to promote growth and productivity, protection of contract labours from exploitation, managing agrarian distress and improving agricultural productivity, restoring robust credit growth, promoting new investments and reviving manufacturing to produce on the scale and quality demanded by the domestic and world markets and facilitating steady growth in exports that will increase India’s share of global trade as the big challenges that the country will face in the coming decades.
The resolution said that the Congress party’s economic policy doctrine will rest on tenets like prosperity for all through equal economic opportunities without the fear of economic oppression, tax terrorism and overbearing regulation; carefully designed programs that focus on the needs and aspirations of the poor and the middle class; large investments by the State in education, healthcare and social safety nets and an efficient public service delivery system; a conducive social and policy climate to foster business confidence, reward risk-taking and promote employment with security and focus on human development indicators along with economic indicators.
‘’It is the path toward creating a large, vibrant and productive middle class. It is the path to creating wealth and generating government revenues that will enable the State to spend adequately to attain social and redistributive justice. Such sustained economic growth can be achieved only if the country can be rescued from the hands of incompetent economic managers and entrusted to those who have for many years nurtured the economy and guided it on the path of all-round economic development.
Slamming the NDA for the mismanagement of the economy, the resolution said that the Economic Survey for 2017-18 indicted the Modi Governemt on the management of the economy.
‘’The survey states, inter alia —
* Just when the world’s economy has risen steadily from a growth rate of 2.8 per cent in 2014 to a projected growth rate of 3.8 per cent in 2018, the Indian economy has ‘de-coupled’ itself from the world’s economy.
* The economy faces three main challenges: education/health, agriculture and employment.
* Real agricultural GDP and real agricultural revenues have stagnated in the last four years,’’the resolution said.
The resolution slammed the Modi Governmet on its decision to implement demonetization and a flawed GST for destroying the small and medium businesses and leading to loss of jobs.
“Demonetisation” experiment of November 2016 will rank as one of contemporary India’s most ill-thought and reckless economic misadventures. It is now clear that the Modi government had no rationale for this arbitrary policy. It neither eliminated “black money” nor did it transform our nation into a utopian “cashless” society as proclaimed by Mr Narendra Modi. All of the Rs 15,44,000 crore of old currency notes have come back to the RBI which is still counting the notes! Cash in circulation has reached Rs 17,06,700 crore which was the level pre-November 8, 2016. Demonetisation was the first policy in living memory the implementation of which caused the loss of over 100 lives. It was an irresponsible action that wreaked havoc on the lives of hundreds of millions of people, destroyed fifteen lakh jobs, dented business confidence and instilled fear and panic in our society. The scars of this bizarre and destabilizing act on Indian society will linger for long.
GST was an idea first proposed by the UPA government in 2006. The Indian National Congress supports GST in its principle but opposes the shape and form given to it by the Modi government. As conceived by the UPA, GST was a ‘Good and Simple Tax’ with one tax rate (not exceeding 18 per cent) and exemptions for merit goods. The Congress Party severely condemns the hasty imposition of a flawed GST regime. The Modi government’s GST is an extremely complex tax structure and violates the principle of cooperative federalism through imposition of cesses outside the GST framework. Denial and delay in tax refunds, discriminatory input credit policies, unpreparedness of the GST system, onerous provisions for compliance, and ambiguity in revenue sharing with States have all caused severe damage to India’s economy. The Indian National Congress stands for a much simpler GST framework with a moderate and reasonable standard rate of tax, abolition of cesses outside the GST structure, a transparent mechanism for revenue sharing with the States, and a robust system of refunds,’’the resolution said.