Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh once again criticised the demonetisation move of the Modi government asserting it will have a “very significant adverse effect” on the country’s GDP. Manmohan had flayed the move, even calling it a “monumental management failure”, when the issue was debated in the Parliament during Winter session last month.
Releasing Congress party’s manifesto for the Punjab polls, Manmohan said the issue of note ban will as well form the crux of his party’s campaign in the upcoming assembly elections in five states.
“You will see there will be a very significant adverse effect on the country’s GDP,” he said as he recalled his statement in Parliament to stress that developments post the move have proved him right.
Drawing reference to the recent projection by the National Income Unit of the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) that the GDP in 2016-17 will slow down to 7.1 per cent from 7.6 per cent a year earlier, the former PM and world-renowned economist claimed that the figures may slump further as the calculations are yet to factor in the impact of demonetisation.
The issue of banning high denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 have been aggressively taken up by the Opposition, especially by the Congress party. The stand-off between the government and the opposition over the issue saw the Parliament session washing out with very less business transacted.
During his speech in Rajya Sabha last month, Manmohan Singh was highly critical of demonetisation decision and had predicted a 2 per cent drop in the country’s GDP due to it.
“These measures convinced me that the way the scheme has been implemented, it’s a monumental management failure. And in fact, it is a case of organised loot and legalised plunder,” he had said.
On the other front, releasing his party’s manifesto for the Punjab polls, where they have been out of power for ten years, he spelled several schemes like farm loan waiver and free power, smart phones, textbooks and even doles to unemployed youth.
He also charged the Akali-BJP government with “misusing” governance in the last ten years and said Capt Amarinder Singh’s leadership is “badly needed” in the state to explot the state’s tremendous potential.
“The challenge before Punjab is to rise above all this din and recognise that the people of Punjab need a better tomorrow,” he said in a presser at AICC headquarters on Monday. Top brass of Congress’s state unit, including Capt. Amrinder Singh, was present at the presser.
Taking on the incumbent regime further, Manmohan said Punjab’s fiscal situation has been bad under the Akalis as the state has inflicted great damage on the economy and polity of Punjab being a victim of terrorism.
The manifesto also promised loan waiver and free power to farmers, wiping out of drug trade within a month, stipend of Rs 2,500 per month to unemployed youth, free smart mobile phones to youth and free textbooks to all children.
PCC chief Amarinder Singh announced that the state would generate as many as 25 lakh jobs within the next five years so as to provide employment to all youth in the state, besides crackdown on drugs and corruption, and bring a new industrial policy within 90 days.
In a significant announcement, Amarinder said this is his last election. “For 47 years, I have been in politics and this is my last election. I am not going to fight again. People know that what I say, I fulfil.”
(With inputs from the PTI)