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Economy close to collapse, attended by 'incompetent doctors', says Chidambaram

ANI  |  Politics 

Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, former finance minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the economy is heading for collapse as it is attended by "incompetent doctors" now.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, he said: "They (government) said they inherited a bad economy. You are in power for six years. How long can they blame previous managers? People are asking questions about current managers, not past managers... Chief Economic Advisor says the economy is in ICU. I disagree. I think that the patient has to be wheeled into the ICU.

Unfortunately, the patient has been kept out of ICU and now incompetent doctors are looking at the patient."

"Of course, you will not consult the Opposition parties. Congress is untouchable and rest of the Opposition is looked upon with great contempt. You will not go to Manmohan Singh and ask him. I think it is dangerous to have the patient out of ICU... What is the purpose of standing around the patient and chanting 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas'. The patient is not going to revive. Every competent doctor that you have appointed has left the country. You made sure Raghuram Rajan, Arvind Subramanian, Urjit Patel left the country. Who are your doctors?" he said.

Chidambaram continued: "So, the net result today is we have an economy which is close to collapse. It has to be attended by very competent doctors. In the last few years, we have found that doctors are not so competent.

The Congress leader said that the Modi government refuses to admit its mistakes and is living in denial.

"Demonetisation was a monumental blunder and the hurried implementation of flawed GST... At least in the future when we point out mistakes the government must have an open mind debate with us. If there is a mistake, they should admit it," he said.

"The second problem with this government is it is living in denial. It will not accept that the state of the economy is extremely bad," he added.

Chidambaram said that rising unemployment and falling consumption is making India poorer."The way to revive economy is to put the money in the hands of the masses. Not put money in the hands of classes... Today there is no money in the hands of the people. There is no incentive for anyone to invest, on the contrary, there is fear and uncertainty prevailing all over the country. No one will invest in the country," he said.

Continuing his tirade, he said: "The problems are structural, not cyclical. Six quarters of declining growth rate, agriculture is growing at 2 per cent, consumer price index inflation 1.9 per cent in January 2019 rose to 7.4 per cent in December 2019, food inflation is 12.2 per cent, bank credit is growing at 8 per cent... Overall credit is about 9 per cent. The result is it shows up in numbers."

Taking a jibe at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam for her budget speech, the Congress leader said: "What is she trying to say? If you take 116 minutes to read a speech, then a few pages are left unread. I am happy that she did not say 'acche din aane wale hain'."

"It is good that she has forgotten an empty slogan. But she repeated more than once, the new slogan 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas'. We will know that tomorrow whether this slogan resonates with people," he said.

The former minister said that the government is not spending the money on schemes like food subsidy, PM-KISAN, and mid-day meal schemes in comparison to what was promised.

Chidambaram said that the government's allocation to defence was "hopelessly insufficient".

"I don't know why the Chief of Defence Staff and the secretary of the newly created department of military affairs are not protesting. He should protest loudly," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 10 2020. 14:10 IST