The Congress today accused the government of "befooling" the public by doing cyclical economics and indulging in accounting jugglery to achieve its disinvestment targets and hide fiscal deficit by asking state-owned ONGC to buy stake in HPCL.
The Congress today accused the government of “befooling” the public by doing cyclical economics and indulging in accounting jugglery to achieve its disinvestment targets and hide fiscal deficit by asking state-owned ONGC to buy stake in HPCL. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi also accused the government of not passing on the benefits of lower international crude prices to the consumer. He claimed the government earned a profit of over Rs 6 lakh crore by buying cheap crude oil and selling it to the countrymen on higher rates. “The Modi government is indulging in cyclical economics. ONGC and HPCL merger is a classic case of accounting jugglery and will only add to the rising fiscal deficit. It is another way of using left-hand right-hand sleight of hand to largely fool the Indian public,” he told reporters. Singhvi said for the first time in India’s history, a cash-rich government-controlled agency like ONGC is going to take a loan to buy the state-owned shares in another government-controlled company HPCL.
“To do accounting jugglery, it is ONGC in all probability with the loan of odd Rs 30,000 crores. So ONGC will take a loan of Rs 30,000 crore, pay it to the Government of India to buy the shares of Government of India in HPCL. “Why? So that the Government of India can fool the public of India by showing that we, the Government of India, have not taken loan. Our deficit look good, our borrowings look small but they forget that the borrowing is done by the 100 per cent Government of India company called ONGC,” he said. The Congress leader said this is being done to make the balance sheet of the government before the Budget look better by decreased borrowing. He accused the Modi government of indulging in ‘Cyclic Economics’ and said the ONGC and HPCL development will only add to the rising fiscal deficit.
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“The Modi government is clutching at straws to hide its massive economic mismanagement,” he said. “This superficial act of tokenism is being done for a single objective – to show in the Budget books that after failing to achieve the disinvestment targets in the first two fiscal years of Modi government, this time it has achieved it,” he said. In 2014-2015, the government missed the target by 44 per cent, in 2015-16 it was 41.5 per cent and in 2016-17, it again missed its target by 20 per cent, he alleged.
“Profiteering at the expense of common people is the sole aim of Shri Modi’s petro policy! Petrol and diesel prices have hit the roof, but the Modi government continues to hurt the savings of millions of consumers,” he said. He said the Congress has been insisting that one of the worst ways the GST has been distorted is by not acceding to “our demand of bringing petroleum products under GST”. “What is this talk about One Nation-One Tax? You have got a nation with petrol (having) not even one tax, two tax, three tax, but out of the tax system altogether of GST. This is another very bad form of chicanery,” he said.