P.Chidambaram attacks BJP manifesto

Written by PTI | Madurai | Updated: Apr 9 2014, 18:29pm hrs
PWorld class industrial and investment regions had been already created by Congress in a different form, Chidambaram added. (Reuters)
Attacking the BJP manifesto, Union Finance Minister P.Chidambaram today said that it contains no "outstanding" idea or theme for development and that many promises in it were a mere "copy" of the Congress' programmes.

"It's a copy, not even a cut and paste job. It is a copy of our ideas. It's not wrong to copy but they should acknowledge," he told a press conference here reacting to BJP's manifesto released yesterday.

The manifesto, it seemed, had been prepared after being in hibernation for more than 10 years. The BJP had been talking as if no development had taken place in the world and India, he said.

"They have criticised successive governments in the last 67 years, forgetting the fact that they had also ruled the country, or had been a partner in the Morarjee government for a brief period for two and half years.

"While congress has given a 10 point Agenda for the Economic development,and 15 point agenda for uplifting the poor to the middle class status.There is not even a pretence of agenda in the BJP manifesto to bring economic revival," the senior Congress leader said.

Chidambaram said whether it was scheme for 100 new cities with technology and infrastructure or single national agricultural market or national multi-skill mission they were mere copy of the Congress programmes which were being already implemented.

He said the e-governance had been already implemented, and the government departments had been already computerised. The digitization of 80 per cent of government records in revenue department was over in Tamil Nadu also.

Referring to the promise that India would be made a global hub for arbitration, he said arbitration centres already existed in Delhi and Mumbai.

The Universal ID idea of BJP was nothing but a copy of the aadhar card. The Self Help group lending scheme already existed, he said.

"The tax policy of the BJP manifesto is a copy of the Congress Policy. It is a copy of my statement on tax policy," he said.

Referring the BJP's assurance that Mahathma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act would be linked to the farm sector, he said MNREGA was brought to provide work for the rural people to give them succour,when there was no rain and monsoon failure and wondered how would they link it to farming activity undertaken only during monsoon season.

BJP's manifesto on food security act was contradictory. While at one Page they promise that effective implementation of food security act would be done, the party also said it would review all the laws and schemes of the universal food security. He pointed out Modi had opposed the Food security bill.

Chidambaram also attacked the BJP's assurance about strengthening national investigation agency, saying the party-ruled states had opposed the UPA Government's National Counter Terroism Centre.

"All the BJP ruled states and Tamil Nadu opposed the NCTC. They scuttled the centre," he said.

The NCTC was thought of to bring coordination among the states in fighting terrorism. But BJP opposed after the notification was issued.

Referring to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Chidambaram said the BJP had ridiculed and trivialised it and opposed it tooth and nail. Now they were talking about the same in their manifesto.

The creation of maritime authority was also copy of the Congress' initiative. Various programmes for security of coastal areas were being implemented.

Congress had also developed world class ports. The Mumbai container port had been ranked second in the world in handling of containers while the Ennore port had been developed into a world class facility so also Tuticorin. Now the BJP was talking about the same thing.

World class industrial and investment regions had been already created by Congress in a different form, Chidambaram added.

Criticising BJP's assurance that it would end tax terrorism, Chidambaram said when the retrospective amendment of tax laws were carried out on Vodafone issue, the BJP supported the government. "Now talking about tax terrorism is absurd".

The Congress leader said he was not sure whether there was anti-incumbency wave or not. But people could have some grievances with the government which was in power for ten years.

He said foreign investment had come down because economy world over was not doing well. If investors abroad were able to save, they would invest in India or other countries.

The government had encouraged the public sector to invest in industries but private sector was not investing or could not be forced to pump in money.

On the issue of economic growth, the Finance Minister said during 2000-01 (NDA regime) and next year there was only 4.3 per cent growth.

But during Congress regime earlier (UPA I and most part of UPA II), growth had been 8.5 percent on the average.

Now the import and export had been affected because United States has just recovered from long recession, the growth in other countries was also slow, he added.