Opposition attacks Govt over demonetisation, GST in LS

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New Delhi: The opposition in the Lok Sabha today came down heavily on the government over the impact of demonetisation and introduction of the GST, saying the economy was in a bad shape, the growth rate had slowed down and joblessness was growing.

Initiating a debate on the Supplementary Demands for Grants – Second Batch for 2017-18, senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily said the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) has “conceded that various reasons had contributed to the slowdown” of the growth rate to 5.7 per cent in the first quarter.

“It is not my allegation but admission on the part of the Economic Advisory Council,” he said.

Moily was speaking after the Congress members had staged a walk-out protesting against the Prime Minister’s remarks against Manmohan Singh.

However, Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge said “we are participating (in the discussion) because it is a constitutional matter, but our agitation and walk out continues.”

Moily said both decisions of the government on demonetisation and GST “happened in quick succession” and the government should assess their impact on employment both in the organised and the unorganised sectors.

“If job creation has to take place in the organised sector, the capacity utilisation has to cross the current levels of 72-73 per cent with fresh investment which obviously is not happening right now and this is the admission on part of the Finance Ministry,” the Congress leader said.

Maintaining that India was missing out on the global revival of economic growth, he said the number of stalled projects had increased in the fifth straight quarter.

“This is the state of economy as of today and there is no symptom of growth,” he said.

Stating that country’s domestic savings rate was coming down very sharply, he said the soundness of the economy depends on domestic savings.

The crisis in the MSME sector, which contributes about 40% of GDP and constitutes more the 75 per cent of employment, should not be brushed under the carpet, Moily asserted.

Castigating the government for being pro-corporate, the Congress leader said “you say you are against black money. How much black money have you brought back?” and added that except for speeches, the government has not done anything.

Saugata Roy (TMC) said demonetisation, GST, linking of Aadhaar with mobile and other things and Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill were the “most anti-people measures taken since independence”.

Economy has suffered as a result of demonetisation and GST, he said, adding, the first quarter growth was 5.7 per cent that marginally improved to 6.3 per cent in the second quarter of the current fiscal.

Others who participated in debate included Nityanand Rai (BJP), Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav (RJD), Bhagwant Maan (AAP), Bishnu Pada Ray (BJP), Kaushalendra Kumar (JD-U) and Dushyant Chautala (MP).

PTI