India must be rescued from 'incompetent' economic managers: Congress


New Delhi, March 18: The Congress on Sunday attacked the Narendra Modi government over the economic situation saying that the economy was in the hands of "ignorant and incompetent policy makers" and the country can only grow if it is "rescued" from them.

Its resolution on the economic situation, moved by former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, at the party's 84th plenary session here, noted that "sustained economic growth can be achieved only if the country can be rescued from the hands of incompetent economic managers and entrusted to those who have for many years nurtured the economy and guided it on the path of all-round economic development".

"The economy is in the hands of ignorant and incompetent policy makers who have derailed economic growth through reckless and bizarre policies such as demonetisation and a hasty imposition of a flawed Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime," said the resolution.

The Congress said that the tenure of the NDA government was replete with governance and management misadventures and mistakes.

"The Modi government was presented with a golden opportunity to catapult India's economic growth to a new high through a near perfect alignment of stars -- an upswing in the economy, macro-economic stability after the upheaval of the 2008 global financial crisis, low oil prices (from over $100 to under $40 per barrel)...

"Robust global economic growth and an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. Sadly, the government has squandered a golden opportunity."

The resolution reiterated that the "abysmal economic management" of the government has resulted in the lack of jobs and stagnant real incomes of farmers.

It also said that the Centre's handling of the economy has led to the collapse of the manufacturing sector, destruction of micro, small and medium businesses, paralysis of India's banking sector, a severe dent in business confidence and rising inflation expectations of households.

"After four years in office, the Modi government has been severely indicted in its own Annual Economic Survey for 2017-18.

"Just when the world's economy has risen steadily from a growth rate of 2.8 per cent in 2014 to a projected growth rate of 3.8 per cent in 2018, the Indian economy has 'de-coupled' itself from the world's economy." 

The resolution said: "The Congress party believes in the twin goals of inclusive economic growth through private enterprise, a competitive and viable public sector and a robust social safety net through a strong welfare state. 

"The BJP believes in a coercive economic regime that favours a few, a trickle-down effect for the middle class and leaving the very poor to fend for themselves. The BJP's economic philosophy is blind to India's size, scale and diversity and rests on an artificial principle of oneness." 

The resolution said that Congress's economic policy doctrine will rest on the following tenets - prosperity for all through equal economic opportunities without the fear of economic oppression, tax terrorism and overbearing regulation; carefully designed programmes that focus on the needs and aspirations of the poor and the middle class."

"Large investments by the state in education, healthcare and social safety nets and an efficient public service delivery system; a conducive social and policy climate to foster business confidence, reward risk-taking and promote employment with security; focus on human development indicators along with economic indicators.

It also said: "Sustained economic growth is the path toward becoming a middle-income developed country. It is the path to lifting the poor out of poverty." 



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