Rahul Gandhi has blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's notes ban decision for "ruining lives of millions"
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has severely criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "unilateral" decision to ban high-value currency notes last year, and accused him of jeopardising the economy by "bypassing the Reserve Bank of India". In his column, published in the Financial Times
exactly a year since the announcement of demonetisation, Mr Gandhi said the prime minister's decision, aimed at wiping out corruption, has resulted in "wiping out the confidence in our once booming economy".
"Demonetisation has wiped out two per cent of India's gross domestic product, destroyed the informal labour sector and has wiped out many small and medium businesses. It has ruined the lives of millions of hard-working Indians," Mr Gandhi wrote in his op-ed. He also mentioned a report by the 'Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy', which has calculated that "over 1.5m people lost their jobs in the first four months of 2017 due to demonetisation".
Mr Gandhi also criticised the recently introduced national sales tax or GST for the manner in which it was implemented. He alleged that the GST has been "hastily imposed and poorly conceptualised", thereby "dealing another blow to our economy".
Suggesting that India is in a crucial phase of growth, which needs to be supported by large-scale job creation, Mr Gandhi stated "official figures" which suggest that "China currently creates on average 50,000 jobs every single day; India under Mr Modi manages only 500". Explaining this further and linking it to the "blow" dealt by demonetisation, Mr Gandhi wrote: "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".
Speaking about the rise in unemployment and "lack of opportunity", Mr Gandhi accused the prime minister, saying "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."
While the Congress and several other opposition parties are observing a "black day" to mark the anniversary of the government's demonetisation move, the BJP-led government in the centre is celebrating the "success" of the notes ban decision, and dedicating November 8 as "Anti-Black Money Day".