Who gave matches to the loony? Mahua Moitra rips into Modi govt over financial goof up, vendetta politics

Speaking in Lok Sabha, the Trinamool Congress MP claimed there was an anti-poor bias in the government's policies and that an atmosphere of fear was being created by the misuse of central agencies

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra speaks on the Supplementary Demands for Grants in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Dec 13
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra speaks on the Supplementary Demands for Grants in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Dec 13

NH Web Desk

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra lashed out at the Centre’s Narendra Modi government on Tuesday over its alleged botched up economic policies and its targeting of opposition leaders as she cautioned the people to be careful whom they vote for.  

Speaking over the additional demands for grants 2022-23 in the Lok Sabha, Moitra pointed out that while the government was asking for an additional Rs 2,900 crore to buy land and ready-built office accommodation for the Enforcement Directorate, while the agency’s conviction rate has been “a pathetic 0.5 per cent."

She highlighted that while the Union finance minister has been claiming that India’s economy is burgeoning, lakhs of high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) were giving up the country’s citizenship.    

“The finance minister yesterday mentioned how apparently 50 per cent of FII inflows into emerging markets are coming into India. wonderful! But her colleague, the MoS for external affairs just last Friday in response to a question in this very house stated that almost two lakh people—1,83,741 to be precise—renounced their Indian citizenship in the first 10 months of 2022,” Moitra said.  

“This exodus in 2022 takes the total number of Indians renouncing Indian citizenship under this government since 2014 to over 12.5 lakh people. This year has already seen most people giving up Indian citizenship in any single given year,” she added.  

The MP said that HNIs were willing to pay as much as a million dollars to get citizenship of countries like Portugal and Greece.  

“Is this a sign of a healthy economic environment, a healthy tax environment?” she demanded to know.  

“There is an atmosphere of terror in the country with the sword of ED hanging over businessmen and HNIs. The ruling party buys lawmakers for hundreds of crores [of rupees] and yet members of opposition represent 95 per cent of lawmakers under investigation by the ED… Businessmen and HNIs are the soft targets,” she said. 

The TMC leader underlined that the NSO numbers released a day before showed that the industrial output had shrunk by 4 per cent in October to a 26-month low, the manufacturing sector—the biggest generator of jobs—contracted 5.6 per cent and 17 of the industry sectors that make up the index of industrial production had recorded negative growth rates while India’s forex reserves fell by 72 billion dollars in under a year. 

Pointing towards the government’s “distorted priorities” and an “anti-poor bias in the supplementary demands for grants”, Moitra pointed out that nearly Rs 2,000 crore supplementary demands is for large industry while only Rs 233 crore is for the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector even though the latter accounted for 90 per cent of jobs in the industrial sector.  

“Above Rs 45,000 crore demand for MNREGA and other rural employment schemes. This is far too little far too late. The rural sector accounts for nearly two-third of employment in this country. Field reports suggest that only a very small fraction of households are getting MNREGA jobs, that too not more than 30-40 days instead of the assured 100 days. And then there is 3-4 week lag in payments simply because there is inadequate allocation of funds,” she said.  

“I urge the government and the finance minister to take control of the economy and I urge the people of India to take control over who they give the reins of this country to.  

Sawal ye nahi hai ke bastiyan kis ne jalayi, sawal ye hai ki pagal ke hath me maachis kis ne di? (The question is not who burnt down the houses, the question is who handed the matches to the lunatic?)” 

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