Opposition parties on Tuesday targeted the government in Rajya Sabha, saying while it claims there has been economic growth, indicators such as trade deficit, rising inflation and growing unemployment paint a concerning picture.
Participating in a short discussion on the economic situation of the country, members from opposition parties, including the Congress, also raised questions over the impact of schemes.
The ruling BJP, however, claimed there has been a turnaround in the economy under its government.
Congress member Amee Yajnik raised issues related to landless farmers and MSMEs. Following the Covid pandemic, thousands of MSME units, considered the backbone of the economy, closed down but the government does not have proper data on it, she claimed.
"You are continuously comparing with Germany, the UK, the US and other foreign countries. Have you tried to look internally? You are giving ration to more than 50 per cent of the population, but what about unemployment?" she asked.
Yajnik also raised issues related to gig workers, saying they are deprived of any healthcare or retirement benefits.
The Congress member said that "all the data which is coming is on FDI and exports but you have to also look at what has happened to import and export". "Export has gone down in comparison to imports. Where is Make in India," she said.
Yajnik said most of the schemes, which the government mentions, were started by the (Congress-led) UPA government. The National Manufacturing Policy, 2011, became Make-in-India, she claimed.
"...we cannot succeed by changing names. You may change the name of all the policies and schemes but if you cannot perform, you become NPA (non-performing asset)," she said, adding that the state of the economy "is not as the way it is presented by the ruling dispensation".
Congress member Rajeev Shukla also raised concerns over "growing" trade deficit and said inflation needs to be checked as people are facing difficulties.
On economic reforms, he said this should be continued by any government, but some experiments have been done in the last 10 years by undoing some of the decisions of the previous (UPA) government.
He also mentioned some promises made by the (BJP-led) NDA such as bringing back black-money, selling petrol and diesel at cheaper rates and providing housing.
The Congress leader also claimed that a growing number of entrepreneurs are leaving the country and settling aboard. "This is a concern. They going due to excessive regulatory pressure or some any other reason. The government should inquire," he said.
Kerala Congress (M) member Jose K Mani said the economic wellbeing of citizens transcends political affiliation.
"The economic indicators unfortunately paint a concerning picture, while the government claims economic growth. The rising unemployment rate says a different story (which is) impacting life of millions," Mani said and added that farmers and the poor are struggling for survival.
"The gap of haves and have-nots has increased as 40 per cent of the national wealth is with one per cent of the people," he said. "This shows that this government is pro-corporate and pro-industry," Mani said.
BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao and Independent member Kartikeya Sharma said the GDP of the country has grown to USD 3.5 trillion because of economic initiatives taken by the government.
The average inflation rate is 4.4 per cent, which in the UPA period was almost in double digits. Even the RBI had forecasted 5.4 per cent, Rao said.
"When the world is witnessing its highest inflation, India's inflation number is even below the RBI level," he said There is a turnaround in the economy, a transformation in the system and now money reaching needy people, Rao said.
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