Rahul Gandhi in FT op-ed: Note ban a thoughtless act, PM Modi robbed India of its economic prowess
Writing in the Financial Times, Rahul Gandhi quoted the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy and said 1.5 million people have lost jobs in the first four months of 2017 because of demonetisation.Updated: Nov 09, 2017 12:35 IST
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi alleged in an article in Financial Times on Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reforms such as demonetisation and the goods and services tax (GST) had “robbed” India of its economic prowess.
Repeating his criticism of the Modi government to readers of the leading financial daily, Gandhi described the prime minister as one of the ”democratically elected autocrats” across the world, and said demonetisation had “wiped out” confidence in India’s once booming economy.
Demonetisation has wiped out 2 percentage points of GDP growth and “ruined” the lives of millions of workers, he said.
According to him, GST was a “a hastily imposed and poorly conceptualised” tax that dealt another blow to the economy. Bureaucratic and complex, it had “devastated livelihoods, creating a modern day ‘Licence Raj’”, Gandhi wrote.
“Mr Modi has damaged India by converting anger created by joblessness and lack of economic opportunity into communal hatred. He has chosen to hide behind a shallow, hate-filled political narrative”, he wrote in the 770-word article.
“Anger might have brought Mr Modi to power but it will never create jobs or fix India’s institutions,” said the article titled ‘Modi’s reforms have robbed India of its economic prowess’.
Referring to China’s economic strides since the 1970s, Gandhi wrote that country creates on average 50,000 jobs every day, but “India under Mr Modi manages only 500”.
“Mr Modi has damaged India by converting anger created by joblessness and lack of economic opportunity into communal hatred. He has chosen to hide behind a shallow, hate-filled political narrative. Anger might have brought Mr Modi to power but it will never create jobs or fix India’s institutions.” — Rahul Gandhi
“For India, the real force capable of meeting the Chinese job challenge is our huge network of micro, small and medium businesses. They represent India’s innovative capabilities and have the skills, knowledge and understanding to take on China’s manufacturing machine”.
“We urgently need to empower these networks and connect them to capital and technology. But instead of helping them grow, the Modi government has fatally wounded them with demonetisation and a flawed new tax”, Gandhi added.
In his view, the challenge for liberal democracies across the world is to compete with Chinese organisation in a world with 21st-century levels of connectivity, while maintaining liberal values.
Gandhi said the prime minister claimed his decision was aimed at wiping out corruption, but “twelve months on, the only thing he has wiped out is confidence in our once booming economy”.
Taking a dig at the government, Rahul also tweeted in Hindi, “Ek aansu bhi hukumat ke liye khatra hai, tumne dekha nahin aankhon ka samundar hona” (Even a single tear is a danger for the government, you have not seen eyes turning into an ocean).”
"एक आँसू भी हुकूमत के लिए ख़तरा है— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) November 8, 2017
तुमने देखा नहीं आँखों का समुंदर होना" pic.twitter.com/r9NuCkmO6t
“Demonetisation is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians, whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act,” he said on Twitter.
In the Financial Times article, Gandhi cited the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy to argue that 1.5 million people have lost their jobs in the first four months of 2017 due to demonetisation.
Quoting Chinese president Deng Xiaoping that it doesn’t matter what colour the cat is as long as it catches mouse, Gandhi said “Today, the Chinese cat has firmly caught the global manufacturing mouse”.
“China’s global monopoly on blue-collar jobs is a fundamental challenge to other states. This has created millions of disenfranchised and angry workers who express their frustration at the ballot box — whether in votes for Mr Modi, Brexit, or Donald Trump,” he said.
“The rise of democratically elected autocrats, such as Mr Modi, is driven by two factors: a massive increase in connectivity and its profound impact on institutions; and, second, China’s dominance of the global job market.
“Connectivity and the transparency it inspires has positively transformed the world, but in doing so it has also irreparably damaged the machinery of our institutions. The resulting fragmentation has created an environment in which strongmen can flourish apparently unchecked,” he said. (With inputs from agencies)
First Published: Nov 08, 2017 18:21 IST