New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) The Congress on Saturday said the White Paper on the economy was brought by the government to hide the "dark truths" of this country and divert attention from the burning issues of unemployment, price rise, farmers' stress and the state of the economy.
Speaking in the short-duration discussion on the White Paper brought by the government, Congress leader K C Venugopal alleged in Rajya Sabha that the government has used this as a defence for itself by diverting from the issues before the country.
He also accused the government of using the Bharat Ratna award for political purposes, even though he welcomed the award to former prime ministers Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh and agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan.
Venugopal asked why the finance ministry did not even mention the impact of demonetisation in the White Paper and why it does not make any mention of unemployment rate, poverty and rupee value in the White Paper on the Indian economy.
"This is actually not a white paper, this is a paper which is hiding the dark truths of this country," he said in the House.
"You will use Bharat Ratna for political purposes," he also alleged, while saluting Rao, Singh and Swaminathan, who have been awarded the Bharat Ratna.
Asserting that this is not a White Paper as it totally hides the issue of demonetisation and does not make a mention of it, he alleged that the MSME sector has been destroyed by demonetisation and that is why there is a "rise in unemployment".
"They are ruining the country, our youths are disappointed, farmers are disappointed and that is why they are marching every day to the Parliament and they are in distress, and everybody is unhappy with this government," Venugopal said.
"They want to divert (from) this entire situation of the country, they want to divert from the unemployment situation of this country, they want to divert the price rise situation, they want to divert the entire situation through some other way. That's why this White Paper is going to be totally defensive for this government," the Congress leader said.
He said when the BJP is giving new guarantees, one has to think about the guarantees given by the prime minister on the two crore jobs, bringing back black money stashed abroad in 100 days, Rs 15 lakh to every citizen's bank account, doubling of farmers' income by 2022 and achieving USD-five-trillion economy by 2023.
"When you talk about guarantees given to people, talk about the guarantees already given," he said, alleging that they have not fulfilled those promises.
Venugopal said that the government is talking about corruption, but "if you are sincere about corruption, why are you scared of coming out with the CAG report?" "You are bringing this White Paper to abuse the UPA period of 2004-14, when we brought the Right to Education, Right to Employment, Right to Information and Right to Food. Can Nirmala ji enlighten us, which is the flagship programme of the Modi government like MGNREGA, which is a gamechanger? The 2004-14 period was like a game changer," he asserted.
He claimed that during the UPA period, they had done a better job in managing the deficits.
"During the Modi government it is boasting and doing very much PR and propaganda mechanisms, but one has to understand that the country's financial position is very bad. They are giving advertisements and doing expenditure through public money.
"The poor are becoming poorer and the rich are becoming richer. The gap between the rich and the poor is rising. You are only interested in the corporate world. You said India's average per capita has gone from USD 4,000 to USD 6,000.
"You are cleverly using the word 'average per capita GDP'. But per capital GDP will increase in a developing country like India, but the annual average per capita GDP growth fell from 5.9 per cent in Manmohan Singh tenure to 3.8 per cent under Modi tenure," he claimed.
In other words, the average Indian's income grew much faster when Manmohan Singh was the prime minister, he claimed, alleging that "You are hiding the facts. You are using the word only for your purpose." Net foreign investment was 1.2 per cent of the GDP during the UPA regime and now it is 0.8 per cent of the GDP in the NDA rule, he claimed.
"Simply put, foreign investors and consumers trust our India's economy and products far more during the silent and esteemable Manmohan Singh than during the loud and bombastic Narendra Modi ji's period. That period of Manmohan Singh was the golden period for private investment," he said.
Manufacturers were also most confident during that period. Not just private corporate, even farmers did not show confidence during Prime Minister Modi's tenure, Venugopal said, adding that the growth in foodgrain products fell from 34 to 31 per cent during the period.
"Stock market was loud during Modi's tenure and SE was 13.4 per cent annually in the NDA than 8.2 per cent under UPA.
"The job market is depressing, especially for the youth. Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy said that unemployment in the age group 20 to 24 years was 44.5 percent in October-December 2023 statistics. For age the group of 25 to 29 years, it was 14.33 per cent unemployment," he also claimed. PTI SKC MNK MNK MNK