Arrogance crept into the Congress party around the year 2012 and we stopped interacting with people, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi conceded in his address to students of the University of California, Berkeley on Tuesday. He was speaking on 'India at 70: Reflections on the Path Forward'.
Further, commenting on the present Naional Democratic Alliance (NDA) government's economic policies, Gandhi said the November 2016 decision to demonetise high-value currency notes and the hastily rolled out Goods and Services Tax (GST) had put a great pressure on India's economy. He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation drive had led to a decline in the country's economic growth.
"Millions of small businesses were simply wiped out as a result of demonetisation. Farmers and manual labourers who used cash were hit extremely hard. Agriculture is in deep distress and farmer suicides have skyrocketed across the country. A completely self-inflicted wound, demonetisation caused an approximate two per cent loss in GDP growth," Gandhi said.
"India cannot afford to grow and create jobs at the current rate. If we continue at the current rate, if India cannot give the millions of people entering the job market employment, anger will increase and it has the potential to derail what has been built so far," the Congress vice-president said, adding, "That will be catastrophic for India and the world beyond it."
Gandhi said that the idea of ahimsa unites India's castes, religions, and languages. He added that this was an idea that Mahatma Gandhi fashioned into a powerful but beautiful political weapon.
Further, Gandhi said that for everything anyone says about India, there is no democratic country in human history that has raised as many people out of poverty as India has. He cautioned that "our strength so far has been that we have achieved all this peacefully", adding that what could destroy India's "momentum" was "hatred, anger and the politics of polarisation". "Violence and hatred distract people from the task at hand," Gandhi said.
First Published: Tue, September 12 2017. 10:20 IST