Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday described demonetization as the “greatest lie” and accused the BJP-led government of virtually destroying the economy.
“There cannot be a greater lie than demonetization,” Chidambaram said after presenting the party’s economic policy at the Congress plenary here.
He slammed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for not telling the nation the total amount of demonetized currency it got back after Prime Minister Nadrendra Modi declared Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency illegal in November 2016.
“Demonetization was a big lie. The RBI is still counting and won’t tell us how much money has come back.”
Slamming the government over its failure to generate jobs, the Congress leader said that during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) stint (2004-14) “we created jobs”.
“We didn’t create enough jobs but we created jobs. People found jobs, educated people found jobs, others got jobs in service industry.
“But in four years of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government they have not created jobs. They have destroyed jobs, demonetization destroyed jobs, a flawed GST destroyed jobs.”
Chidambaram said that only the Congress can bring the country out of the present “crisis”.
“Spread the word that a new young dynamic leadership has taken over the Congress. We will come back to power with friends and allies,” he added, referring to Rahul Gandhi who took over the reigns of the grand old party in December.
He said in 2014 there were 766 stalled project. In 2015 the number went up to 816 and further to 893 in 2016. “More projects are stalled today. Projects are not revived, projects are not started, projects are stopped.”
He targeted the Modi government for the slow economy growth.
“The Modi government inherited a strong economy. The task of development has to be continued by future generations. However, today, the Indian economy is decoupled from the world economy which is growing.”
Chidambaram said when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, the biggest achievement was that 14 crore people were lifted out of poverty.
“But the BJP government has pushed people into poverty. The number of people below poverty line went up.
“Demonitization pushed thousands into poverty. Hundreds lost their lives standing in queues. GST destroyed jobs. GST pushed people into poverty, agrarian distress has pushed farmers into poverty, even daily workers have been pushed into poverty,” he said.