The DMK today expressed concern over the country’s economic growth and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to take steps to “revive” it. DMK working president and Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, M K Stalin referred to former Union finance minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s criticism in this regard and called for “corrective” measures from the central government.
Despite a strong majority, the government had not done anything on the economic front, even as the growth rate had dipped compared to the UPA era, exports were on the decline and the overall economy was suffering, he said in a statement. Stalin slammed the Modi government on demonetisation and the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), saying these had impacted both the people and the economy. “We have a government which caused an unbearable misery for 90 per cent of the country’s population through demonetisation, when many people standing in long queues died,” he said.
The DMK leader pointed out that daily wage labourers and the workers in the unorganised sector could not even go to work as they had to stand in queues in front of banks following the note ban. Even many in the BJP, who had initially voiced support to the move, were now saying demonetisation did affect the economy, he claimed.
Even before the people could come out of the impact of the currency ban, the government rolled out the GST, Stalin said and recalled that the DMK had earlier suggested a delay in the introduction of the new tax regime as “there was no proper planning”. “The GST has reduced the growth rate from eight per cent during the UPA times to 5.7 per cent,” he claimed.
Sinha had extensively written about the impact of demonetisation and GST on the economy, saying the two moves had, among others, affected investment and manufacturing, Stalin said. “When a partyman (Sinha) is saying such things, which is akin to self-assessment of the three-year-old government, BJP leaders are criticising him for penning the article (in a daily),” he added.
Stalin pointed out that Subramanian Swamy, another senior BJP leader, had also expressed concern over the economy. “Even after three years, the prime minister is unable to assert if the ‘achhe din’ (good days, a poll promise of the BJP) will indeed come,” he said, adding that the hike in the prices of petroleum products was only adding to the problems of the people.
Tamil Nadu was also suffering due to the slowdown, the opposition leader said, citing the textile and leather industries in Tirupur and Dindigul respectively. “There is no growth, corruption has not ended, the black money issue has not been addressed and Lokpal has not been constituted. But the poor is suffering,” he said. “Prime Minister Modi and Finance Minister Jaitley should immediately take steps to revive the Indian economy,” Stalin added.