Former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s prediction that demonetisation would lead to a fall in the GDP growth rate has come true, senior Congress leader S Jaipal Reddy said here today. “He (Singh) spoke in Parliament only for six minutes where he said there will be a decline of one or two per cent in the national production rate. “A decline of one per cent means, if we look at the overall picture in India, there will be a decline of Rs 1.50 lakh crore in production. The government figures released the day before yesterday said there was a decline of one per cent in the national production rate,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had described demonetisation as a revolution and claimed that the people would be plagued with difficulties for a period of only 50 days, but the decision forced crores of people to return to their villages from the big cities, Reddy claimed, adding, “Farmers could not even sow the crops.” The Congress leader, who was speaking at a ‘Meet the Press’ event organised by the Press Club of Hyderabad, said his party, however, was in favour of digital transactions.
The former Union petroleum minister also alleged that the government had not passed on the benefits of the fall in international oil prices to the common people. “On June 4, 2014, the rate was USD 105 per barrel. On April 27, 2017, it was USD 49. The surplus of Rs 1.20 lakh crore per year was for whom? Not for the people, but the government. It was budget relief… But, the relief never reached the consumers,” he said.
Claiming that the government would, however, increase the prices if there was a rise in the international crude prices, Reddy said it needed to clarify how was it spending the Rs 1.20 lakh crore it got as relief. “This is daylight robbery of consumers,” he alleged. Modi had promised to bring back Rs 80 lakh crore of black money stashed abroad, but the NDA government had recently informed the Supreme Court that international treaties prevented it from disclosing the details of black money holders, claimed the Congress leader.
He further alleged that the Modi government had a “divisive agenda based on religious and caste lines”. Reddy wondered why those who had voted for Modi criticised US President Donald Trump for his actions. “I am asking those who voted for Modi, you are supporting him on the social media. But, why are you criticising Trump? Who is Trump? America’s Modi,” he said.
Replying to a query, the Congress leader said he would support the high-command’s decision to project party vice- president Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate in the 2019 general election.