Who is Finance Minister, Congress asks PM

Manish Tewari

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) Alleging “gross economic mismanagement” over the past four years, Congress on Monday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was the country’s Finance Minister, while saying “social disharmony is the enemy of economic development”.

“The PMO’s website says one thing, the website of the Finance Ministry tells another story. The gentleman, who is designated as the minister without portfolio on the website of the PMO (Arun Jaitley), there are reports that he is holding video conferences with the officials of the Finance Ministry,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.

He also said that the government and the Prime Minister “have not understood one simple equation that social disharmony and economic progress cannot go hand in hand”.

“Social disharmony is the enemy of economic development. Unfortunately the spectre of social intolerance which has been created by the Modi government and their ideological fellow travellers is a complete anathema and is totally detrimental to any sustained substantive economic activity,” Tewari added.

Tewari also sought to know whu “the revised GDP series going back to financial year 2011 has still not been put in the public domain despite the fact that base year for calculating the GDP was revised in the year 2015”.

“According to economists, the GDP rate on the new base year between 2004 and 2009 which was the first term of the UPA government, the average comes to 9.8 per cent and for the second term (from 2009 to 2014) it comes to 7.5 per cent.

“The growth rate between 2014 and 2018 as per the revised calculations comes to 7.1 per cent. Is it not a fact that government does not want to release the data as it expose the policy paralysis of the government,” he added.

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The Congress leader also asked why investment by domestic corporates into the economy grew by only 5.7 per cent in 2016-17.

“Is it not a fact that the Current Account Deficit for the current fiscal has widened to such an extent that international financial institutions are raising serious questions…,” he asked.

“Is it not a fact that between 2014 and 2018 the banking system wrote off loans worth Rs. 3,92,765 crore as unrecoverable loans. Nirav Modi is just a symptom of the larger malaise which has afflicted economic management”.

Tewari also said according to the International Labour Organization, only 8,23,000 jobs were created in the first three years of this government, or roughly 2.5 lakh per year though Modi had promised two crore jobs each year.