Introduction and withdrawal of Rs 2,000 note cast doubt on stability of Indian currency: Chidambaram
Chidambaram said the key economic indicators are pointing downward and there is low confidence that the economy will reach the high growth path
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday said the introduction of Rs 2,000 note and its subsequent withdrawal have cast doubt on the integrity and stability of the Indian currency.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, the former Union finance minister said the key economic indicators are pointing downward and there is low confidence that the economy will reach the high growth path.
He also said the situation in Manipur, where recent ethnic clashes have claimed more than 75 lives, was alarming and questioned the continued silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Governance and policies in a secular, democratic country must give rise to a tide that will lift all boats. In that view, the NDA government has totally failed in the last nine years, he said.
What is worse is that the government does not even make an effort to correct its mistakes and govern for all the people, he said.
The Reserve Bank of India recently announced withdrawal of Rs 2000 notes from circulation and asked people to deposit it in banks or get it exchanged by September 30.
"The thoughtless - some would even say foolish - introduction of the Rs 2,000 note (which the people shunned) and the mortifying spectacle of withdrawing the note have cast doubt on the integrity and stability of India's currency," Chidambaram said.
The first three quarters of 2022-23 recorded growth rates of 13.2, 6.3 and 4.4 per cent, a declining trend. The present situation is a far cry from the average of nine per cent growth rate that marked the boom years between 2004 and 2009, he said.
The Indian economy is growing modestly at a much-reduced pace facing serious issues of unemployment, inflation, widening inequalities and stumbling welfare programmes, he said.
''The opposition is compelled to raise very serious questions about raging unemployment, persistent inflation, widening inequalities and stumbling welfare programmes. The all India unemployment rate is, currently, 7.45 per cent and the labour force participation rate is about 48 per cent. Prices are elevated and people are consuming less,'' Chidambaram said.
The Congress leader alleged that under the NDA government, freedom of speech and expression of citizens has been severely curbed through intimidation and slapping of false cases.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and/or its affiliated organisations have fuelled these trends with hyper-nationalism, vigilantism, religious intolerance, vandalism, hate speeches and extra-judicial actions, he charged, adding that "bulldozer justice has replaced natural justice." ''We are pained and shocked that the leadership of the NDA government has remained silent while the situation in the country has deteriorated year after year," he said.
Chidambaram also said the outcome of the recently held Karnataka Assembly elections demonstrated how wrong the prime minister, his government and his party were in their assessment of the political and social situation of the state.
The Congress returned to power in Karnataka after a gap of five years by defeating the BJP.