New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh today said demonetisation and GST is a complete disaster for our economy and has broken back of small time investers, while addressing small businessmen in Gujarat ahead of the crucial elections.
On demonetisation which he had before opposed, Singh said 8th November was a black day for our economy and indeed our democracy, adding that tomorrow we will mark one year since the disastrous policy was thrust on the people of our country.
No where in the world has any nation taken such a drastic step that sweeped off 86% of the currency, he added saying to promote less cash economy coercive steps like Demonetisation are ineffective.
We had to run for Chinese imports at the cost of Indian jobs, he said on what he called the ‘twin blow’ Demonetisation and GST.
“Unprecedented growth of imports by over Rs 45,000 Cr, a 23% increase in a year,can be attributed largely to demonetisation, GST,” he further added.
Attacking the Modi govt, the former PM said the fear of tax terrorism has eroded the confidence of Indian business to invest.
In 1st half of 2016-17 India’s imports from China stood at Rs 1. 96 Lakh Crore. In 2017-18 it increased to Rs 2.41 Lakh Cr, he further said.
Stating Congress’ achievements, Singh said “I can proudly say that we lifted 140 million people out of poverty.”
On the centre’s decision to launch bullet trains, the former PM said it was an ‘exercise in vanity’.
“Did PM consider alternative of the high speed train by upgrading broad gauge railway?” he said, further asking if by questioning bullet trains does one become anti-development. Does questioning GST & Demonetisation make one a tax evader?
This attitude of suspecting everyone to be thief or anti-national, low level rhetoric is damaging to democratic discourse, he also said.
Singh took part in an interactive session on the current state of economy with businessmen and traders during his visit, the Gujarat Congress said in a release.
His visit comes a day before Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s likely tour of Surat as the Congress marks the first demonetisation anniversary on November 8 as ‘black day’.
The session has been organised at the Sardar Patel Memorial in Shahibaug area in the morning, the party said.
After the event, the Congress leader will address a press conference at the state party headquarters, it added.
The former prime minister is visiting Gujarat at a time the state is witnessing a heated campaigning for the assembly polls.
Rahul Gandhi has already toured the state multiple times in the last few months and addressed a number of rallies.
The note ban has been a recurring theme of Gandhi’s speeches.
It is expected that the economist-politician would touch upon various aspects related to note-ban as well as the implementation of GST and its impact on the economy during his interaction with the business community.
Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, goes to polls on December 9 and 14.