AHMEDABAD — Former Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram Nov. 14 asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an explanation on the jobs he had promised to create in the run-up to the 2014 general elections but which have yet to appear.
He also lashed out at the National Democratic Alliance government at the Center for demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax, which he said were badly implemented.
"Both these steps dragged the country into recession-like situation. Demonetization is a major blow to the Indian economy and is completely unconcerned about the common man's plight," the Congress leader told a gathering at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries event.
"Was the black money, fake currency or corruption eliminated after demonetization? None of these aims was achieved," he said.
He claimed that after the demonetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes Nov. 8, 2016, as many as 15 crore daily wage earners had to go to bed hungry for days while only 40 percent of Automated Teller Machines were functional.
Taking a dig at the government over the GST issue, he said: "I want to thank the Gujarat assembly elections due to which the central government was forced to slash GST by three quarters on many items. They would not have done it for Himachal Pradesh's elections, but winning the Gujarat elections is of utmost importance to the BJP."
He said that during the United Progressive Alliance government's 10-year rule, the average growth rate in India was 7.5 percent, with 8.5 percent in the first five years from 2004 and 6.4 percent in the last two years of its rule.
He claimed that the growth rate had declined during the NDA rule due to demonetization.
He wondered why petrol and diesel prices were high despite the fact that since May 2014, international crude oil prices fell drastically.
"Why is petrol, electricity, construction sector not included in the GST system? Why are they denying input credit to industries? The present government has made a complete mess of the GST as conceived by the UPA government."
The former union minister said that just saying 'achche din ayenge' does not support development.
Former GCCI Chairman Bipin Patel claimed that the state's Bharatiya Janata Party government had pressured the trade body's members to not attend the event, which was why so many were absent.