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Start Up India cannot be accompanied by Shut Up India: Rahul Gandhi hits out at PM Modi

Rahul Gandhi was also highly critical of last year’s withdrawal of high-value banknotes, saying that GST and demonetisation have “crippled our economy”.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2017 23:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,GST,Goods and Servics Tax
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at 112th PHD Chamber's Annual Session and Awards for Excellence 2017 in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic policies on Thursday, saying citizens’ trust in the government had eroded as demonetisation and the goods and services tax hurt small businesses and crippled livelihoods.

The Congress leader likened the note ban-GST combination to double-tap gunshots fired at the economy to ensure it was dead.

“In a couple of weeks from now, we will observe the death anniversary of the 500 and 1,000-rupee notes. November the 8th is the barsi of notebandi – when Modi personally wiped out 86% of the currency in circulation overnight,” Gandhi said.

“The Prime Minister failed to grasp a basic concept of the Indian economy – all cash is not black and all black is not cash. Without understanding this basic concept, the Prime Minister used his vast powers to unleash terror on the citizens of India.”

Gandhi said Modi was “a person with a big chest but a small heart” and said the economy was staring at a “Modi-made disaster” due to rising unemployment during the three years of BJP-led government.

“India’s expectations are shattered,” Gandhi said, addressing the 112th annual session of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Gandhi told the gathering of business leaders that creating trust and competition was paramount. “The truth is trust in this government is dead. For some reason, the PM and his government are absolutely convinced that every single person in India is a thief,” Gandhi said.

“Start Up India cannot be accompanied by Shut Up India,” Gandhi said in reference to the government’s scheme to incentivise starting business ventures.

Gandhi said small, micro and medium businesses were screaming in pain.

“The government refuses to listen to their pain. It is creating a massive army of unemployed youth, which is toxic and dangerous,” the Congress leader said.

However, he asserted that the economy could be revived despite the current crisis.

“If India is able to lift another 350 million people out of poverty by 2030, it would be an achievement that the entire human race can be proud of. Doing this would require us to grow by more than 8% in the next 13 years and this is the challenge. India has done it before and can do it again.”

Gandhi also touched upon the controversy surrounding state BJP leaders’ remarks on the Taj Mahal.

“The world is laughing at us as we are busy debating whether one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, was actually built by Indians.”

During the question-answer session, Gandhi admitted to flaws in governance during UPA rule but said power was not concentrated in 10, Janpath (the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi).

“I am not saying Congress was running an exceptional government. There were shortcomings. I am saying the new Congress government will be decentralised that distributes power much more than even the last Congress government,” he added.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 19:00 IST