'Black Paper' on Anyay Kaal (2014–2024)
Congress' report card on the Modi govt precedes the release of the NDA government's white paper
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge unveiled a "black paper" the morning of 8 February, titled '10 Saal Anyay Kaal: 2014–2024 (10 Years of Injustice/Lawlessness)' scrutinising the Narendra Modi government's shortcomings since 2014.
The Congress publication just precedes the anticipated presentation of a white paper from the NDA government today, mentioned by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the interim Budget Session of Parliament. on Thursday, 8 February.
As per a report in the Deccan Herald, Kharge highlighted the BJP's alleged neglect of states governed by the Congress in his address while presenting the paper. He also emphasised that the Central government tends to merely release funds, when it does, without ensuring their effective utilisation.
Kharge highlighted the surge in inflation over the past decade as well.
Slamming the BJP for repeatedly dredging up the previous Congress-led government's historical records, Kharge say those do not alter the current realities and the shortcomings of the current regime:
Despite being in power for 10 years, instead of talking about himself, [Modi] only criticises the Congress party. Even today he did not talk about price rise, unemployment and economic inequality.Mallikarjun Kharge, president, Indian National Congress
NDTV, also reporting on the development, quoted Kharge as saying: "'Modi ki Guarantee' is only to spread lies!"
The paper also spoke of the 'Modani Raj', in a critique of this government's facilitation of 'big business' interests at the cost of the consumer and its suppression of investigative agencies so that a blind eye is turned to SEBI regulations.
The Congress' 54-page document, printed on a black background, critiques the accomplishments of the Modi government as it completes its 10-year tenure.
The document accuses the NDA government of wreaking havoc on India's economy, exacerbating unemployment, decimating the agricultural sector and perpetrating injustices against minorities and marginalised communities.
The paper is broadly divided into 3 sections: Aarthik Anyay, Samajik Anyay and Rajneetik Anyay.
Arthik Anyay (Economic Fallout): This section highlights soaring unemployment, "economic blunders" such as demonetisation and a flawed implementation of GST, as well as the plight of farmers in the current regime (in particular criticising the "railroading" of the farm laws) and the dependence on 'self-employment' (contract work) instead of actual employment.
Samajik Anyay (Social Injustice): This section discusses at length the escalation of discrimination and crime against women, SC/STs and OBC citizens and other minorities, as well as the rise of hate speech.
Rajneetik Anyay (Political Imbalance): This part of the paper speaks to the erosion of India's political structures and institutions, alleging that democratic institutions like the judiciary and the Election Commission have been compromised in Modi's tenure. It also highlights national security concerns and slams the government's handling of security challenges.
The release of this "black paper" underscores the intensifying political discourse between the ruling BJP and the Opposition, with the Congress as a key 'voice', as the 2024 general elections loom. The budget session, the last for this Lok Sabha's tenure, has been leveraged by both sides to present contrasting narratives on their respective governance achievements and failures.
Some highlights from the Congress "black paper":
The highest rate of unemployment in 45 years, going from 1 crore in 2012 to 4 crore in 2022
10 lakh sanctioned central government posts still unfilled, despite the high unemployment
33 per cent unemployed amongst graduates and postgraduates
2 employed persons dying by suicide every hour
Steep increases in price of essential commodities from 2014 to 2024: 120 per cent increase in cost of LPG; 37 per cent for petrol and 64 per cent for diesel; 59 per cent for mustard oil, 59 per cent for atta (whole-wheat flour) and 71 per cent for milk
One farmer dying by suicide every hour
Stagnant wages for labourers, with real wage growth being only 1 per cent per year
48 per cent increase in crimes against SC/ST communities from 2013 to 2022
Privatisation of industries and contractualisation of labour representing a twin attack on the intent of reservation policies
86 rape cases recorded a day, on average, with an abysmal conviction rate of 27.4 per cent
BJP leaders calling for violence against minorities, supporting and feting convicts (including rapists) on communal lines
Manipur still "burning", for 9 months now
Caste discrimination institutionalised in higher education
Elected state governments "undermined" using "money power and threats of investigation" in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Manipur
Fivefold jump in Enforcement Directorate cases since 2014, with 95 per cent of the cases being against Opposition politicians
China continuing to deny access to 2,000 sq km of strategic border areas despite 18 rounds of talks
Indian troops having lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points, per government sources
Modi government's ceding of further territory by agreeing to buffer zones
The entire text of the "black paper" can be found here: