Congress Says People’s Issues Like Inflation, Unemployment Should be Core to Politics

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NEW DELHI — The Congress says that inflation and unemployment should be core to politics and people’s issues should be the main topic of public discourse. It alleged that the BJP is using diversionary tactics since the RSS leaders said that rising inflation and unemployment are matters of concern. The Congress said that this is the impact of the party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ that even the RSS is talking about these issues.

The Congress has alleged that 5.6 crore Indians have been pushed into abject poverty. During the Covid pandemic the Narendra Modi government’s failures increased poverty while the World Bank has cut India’s GDP growth forecast for the third time to 6.5 per cent.

Macroeconomic fundamentals

The macroeconomic fundamentals have significantly worsened and the rupee has consistently weakened. About $100 billion have been eroded from the forex reserves while the Current Account, Fiscal Deficit and Trade Deficit have increased.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said that, “High prices have affected the poor the most, 5.6 crore Indians have been pushed into abject poverty. Poverty has increased in India, a report by the World Bank last evening has red flagged the fact that nearly 5.6 crore Indians have been pushed into extreme poverty during the Covid pandemic. The World Bank has also for the third time cut the estimated GDP growth for India from 7.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent. This will mean higher joblessness and more poverty.”

The party said that according to experts, the World Bank’s estimates of poverty in India are actually less than the situation on the ground. Some economists believe that nearly 27 to 30 crore Indians were pushed into abject poverty during the Covid pandemic. According to Niti Aayog on the multilateral poverty index nearly 25 per cent people in the country are poor.

The party said that Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had both suggested to PM Modi and his government that money should be given directly to the poor so that they can continue to consume. If only they had paid heed to the suggestions made by the Congress party the economic situation wouldn’t have been so bad, millions of daily wage labourers wouldn’t have had to walk home, lakhs of MSMEs wouldn’t have had to close down and almost 6 crore people would not have been pushed into abject poverty.

Rupee hit a historic low

The party has hit out as the Rupee has hit a historic low of 82.33 to a dollar, $100 billion worth of forex reserves have been eroded since the beginning of this year, the twin problems of Current Account Deficit and Fiscal Deficit are looming large, Trade Deficit has doubled over a 1 year period, exports have dipped by nearly 3.5 per cent, FMCG sales have dipped by 10 per cent, this low consumption has slowed down investment further, MSMEs have shut down and unemployment is on the rise. All this topped by high prices impacts the poor the most. And given high inflation, the RBI has raised rates 4 times, which will make EMIs higher and loans costlier.

“But Mr Modi is hardly worried, he is still indulging in empty slogans and false promises. First aloo-sona and now lifting potatoes through drones, is all that he is doing. Farmers are committing suicide citing the PM’s inefficiency and apathy as the sole reason,” Shrinate said.

The party questioned that when crude oil has dipped from $116 /bbl to $91/bbl, why have petrol and diesel prices not been brought down? Why have CNG and PNG prices been hiked. Does that not impact the poor?

Train fares have been increased for 130 trains, platform ticket prices have gone up 200 per cent. Does that not impact the poor? Prices of atta and milk are on fire. Does that not impact the poor? Can we not ensure our people don’t struggle with hunger? Does that not impact the poor?

Impact of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’

Why are 80 crore people in a country of 135 crore helpless to take free ration? Who has brought them to this stage?

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh had after the RSS leaders’ comment on inflation said, “Look at the impact of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, those who were involved in dividing the nation are talking of inflation and unemployment”

Not only the Congress, the Opposition has seized the opportunity to attack the BJP-RSS. Former Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy stated on social media on Monday that the statement of Dattatreya Hosabale, the organising general secretary of the RSS which is the mother root of the BJP, that economic inequality, poverty and unemployment are very dangerous holds a mirror to the present conditions in India. Now there are big questions over the claims of ‘Achche Din’, he said.

One doesn’t require special expertise to say who have flourished, who have lost everything in the last 7 years of the BJP’s rule in the country. Hosabale has said that 20 crore people are below the poverty line and 4 crore youth are unemployed. Then who became rich in the last 7 years? Kumaraswamy questioned.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Sarkaryavah, Dattatreya Hosabale had expressed concern over the ever-increasing income inequality, unemployment and poverty as “demon-like challenges” which have to be ended.

RSS’ concern

Hosabale said that in the last 75 years, India has made remarkable achievements in many fields, but the amount of poverty-stricken, unemployment rate and income inequality in the country still remains a challenge like “demons” and it is very important to end it.

Speaking in the webinar ‘Swavalamban Ka Shankhnaad’ organised by the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a Sangh affiliate, on Sunday under Swavalambi Bharat Abhiyan, Hosabale said that even today 200 million people in the country are below the poverty line. The per capita income of 23 crore people of the country is less than Rs 375.

He stated that the unemployment rate in the country is 7.6 per cent and four crore people are unemployed. Describing the unemployment situation in both the rural and urban areas of the country as alarming, the senior Sangh leader said that 22 crore people are unemployed in the rural areas while 18 crore people are unemployed in the urban areas.

Meanwhile, the CPI-M general secretary has attacked the government on the same issue. “Modi’s policies are leading to the destruction of our economy. Manufacturing down, Rupee at historic low, trade deficit at record high, inflation uncontrollable compounding people’s miseries, he said.” — IANS

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Cover photo: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leaders and supporters during ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, at K Malenahalli in Mandya on Friday. — IANS

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