'Who is the country's finance minister?' Congress asks Narendra Modi, says economy on 'downward spiral since 2014'

The Congress on Monday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government for leaving "no stone unturned to mismanage" the Indian economy and asked who was the finance minister of the country.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the BJP-led NDA government and the prime minister have not understood one simple equation, that social disharmony and economic progress cannot go hand in hand.

File image of Congress leader Manish Tewari. PTI

File image of Congress leader Manish Tewari. PTI

He also asked the prime minister who exactly was the country's finance minister.

"Who is the country's finance minister? The PMO and the finance ministry websites have different claims," the Congress leader said.

"We would like to ask the prime minister, with great respect and due deference as to who is the finance minister of India? 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... is holding video conferences with officials of the finance ministry," he said.

"When the Indian economy is really up a creek about the barrel, it is in choppy waters, the prime minister needs to tell this country who is the finance minister... During the economic crisis, not having clarification regarding this reflects a sad state on governance," the Congress leader said.

Piyush Goyal was given additional charge of the finance ministry in May this year when Arun Jaitley had to undergo a kidney transplant at AIIMS.

The finance ministry website has Jaitley as the minister while the PMO mentions Jaitley as 'Minister without Portfolio', while Goyal is mentioned as the Minister of Finance, along with Minister of Railways, Coal, and Corporate Affairs.

Economy on downward spiral: Congress

The Congress leader further claimed that the Indian economy has been on a "downward spiral since 2014."

"It is because of the strong foundations and fundamental laid by the UPA during its 10 years, from 2004 to 2014, that the Indian economy still continues to work. Otherwise, the NDA-BJP government has left no stone unturned in order to mismanage the Indian economy and we would like to underscore that response by once again asking who is the finance minister of India?" he asked.

"The reason why there has been such gross economic mismanagement over the past four years is because the NDA-BJP government and the prime minister have not understood one simple equation that social disharmony and economic progress cannot go hand in hand," Tewari said.

Social disharmony is the enemy of economic development, he added.

"Money is a coward, money goes to the safest harbour and unfortunately, the spectre of social intolerance, which has been created by the NDA-BJP government and their ideological fellow travellers is a complete anathema and is totally detrimental to any sustained, substantive economic activity," he said.

Tewari, a former union minister, asked the prime minister why his government was not coming out with GDP numbers.

"The performance of the economy during the UPA was far better if one goes by the old data released by the United States, China, Brazil and Turkey. This data has changed," Tewari said.

"It will show that the economic performance under the UPA was much better than the economic performance of the NDA-BJP government. It will blow the entire canard of policy paralysis which the BJP ran between 2012 to 2014 completely to smithereens, if that data is released," he said.

He claimed that in 2009, after the global economic meltdown, the UPA government created one million jobs. This government has hardly created 2.5 lakh jobs per year despite promising employment to two crore people, the Congress leader said.

Tewari also accused the government of being "hand-in-glove" with "scamsters" such as Nirav Modi, who he said, "has been let to roam free around the world without any action against him." "Nirav's case is just a symptom of the failure of Modi government," he said.

He also asked the prime minister whether the current account deficit for the current fiscal has widened to such an extent that international financial institutions are raising serious questions about it.

"Is it not a fact that Modi government is not releasing the data based on new base year because UPA's performance was better than NDA? Why the revised GDP series has still not been put out in the public domain? Prime minister Modi must answer some fundamental questions about the economy of India under his tenure," he said.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Jun 19, 2018 13:10 PM

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