Former Prime Minister and economist Manmohan Singh, on Tuesday, slammed the Narendra Modi government’s economic policies, especially focusing on demonetisation and the GST moves. But over and above that, he has also blasted its pet bullet train project. He said that the note ban and new national sales tax GST have given the Indian economy, a major setback. Singh said that the ‘twin blow is a complete disaster for our economy, it has broken the back of our small businesses,’ as per an ANI report. He criticised the bullet train plan as an ‘exercise in vanity’. He said, “The bullet train, launched with much fanfare, is an exercise in vanity. Did PM consider an alternative of the high-speed train by upgrading broad gauge railway?” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ban on high-value notes, which was announced a year ago, was termed a ‘black day’ for the Indian economy. He said, “Tomorrow we mark one year since the disastrous policy was thrust on the people of our country.”
Singh called demonetisation an ‘organised loot and legalised plunder’. He said that the Congress governments had not resorted to banning high-value notes because “coercive steps like demonetisation are ineffective. Nowhere in the world has any nation taken such a drastic step that swept off 86 per cent of the currency.” He also said that demonetisation and GST have increased imports from China. He said, “We had to run for Chinese imports at the cost of Indian jobs. In the first half of 2016-17 India’s imports from China stood at Rs 1.96 lakh crore. In 2017-18 it increased to Rs 2.41 lakh crore. The unprecedented growth of imports by over Rs 45,000 crore, a 23 per cent increase in a year, can be attributed largely to demonetisation and GST.”
Singh was addressing a meeting of traders and businessmen organised by the Congress in his PM Modi’s home state, Gujarat, which votes next month for a new government. While questioning PM Modi’s pet project the bullet train, the former PM said, “By questioning bullet trains does one become anti-development? Does questioning GST and Demonetisation make one a tax evader?”
Earlier, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, in Gujarat, attacked on PM Modi and his government over both the notes ban and GST. He labelled the GST as “Gabbar Singh Tax” after the famous villain from Bollywood superhit Sholay. Rahul Gandhi said that the ‘two quick shots to the chest’ have brought Gujarat’s small traders to their knees and they must punish the BJP by voting against it in next month’s assembly elections.