Terming Jaitley the “worst finance minister” of the country, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that reports presented by “spin doctor” Jaitley would not change the reality driven by “disastrous” demonetisation and “failed” goods and services tax (GST).
The Congress said “ease of doing business” has become “cease of doing business” for micro, small and medium enterprises under the Modi government.
As per the World Bank’s doing business report 2018, India’s rank improved to 100th from 130th last year out of 190 countries.
Jaitley said that India was the only major country named for taking structural reform in the World Bank’s report. He said the biggest jump India got in the ease of doing business was on taxation reforms, and added that taking India into the top 50 countries on ease of doing business ranking was doable.
“The prime minister’s policy adventurism coupled with the adhocism of his finance minister to deliver has caused widespread economic misery and distress.
“With great responsibility, we would like to say that Jaitley has proved to be the worst FM in India’s history. Hiding behind the World Bank reports will not alter this grim reality,” Surjewala said in a statement.
Having “failed” India’s economy by sheer adhocism and inexperience, the BJP government is allegedly clutching at straws to stay afloat as it sinks the economy and hurts trade and businesses, he added.
“The hurriedly convened press conference by the finance minister today to seek ‘manufactured relevance’ from the report evidences the actual distance from ground realities and suffering of people of India,” he added.
Surjewala further accused the BJP-led NDA government of living in a ‘make-believe cuckoo world’ as it is blinded by blinkers of ‘achhe din’ (good days) and is allegedly unable to see, feel, judge or address India’s pain.
He suggested that instead of relying upon ‘rankings’ and ‘rhetoric’, the finance minister should go to the ground and the reality will “starkly stare in his face”.
The Congress leader noted that private investment is in “dire” straits, ‘Make in India’ is “completely floundering”, exports are plunging, credit growth is at a 63-year-old low and inequality is highest in 100 years.
“Crores of job losses in the informal sector have resulted in a ‘cease of doing small businesses’. All this is due to the prime minister’s personal adventurism in policy- making. The double whammy of demonetisation and GST has wreaked havoc for the economy,” he charged.
Surjewala claimed that the rankings do not take into account the “utterly flawed” implementation of the GST. The cut-off date for implementing any reforms for the said study was June 1, while the GST was imposed on July 1.
“‘Misinform’, ‘Non-Perform’ and ‘Multiple GST Forms’ are the guiding mantras of your Govt. Forget “Ease”, where is the “Business”, Modi ji?,” Surjewala tweeted.
His response came to Modi’s tweet, saying, “Guided by the Mantra of ‘Reform, Perform and Transform’ we are determined to further improve our rankings and scale greater economic growth.”
Surjewala said that the inherent flaws in the design, architecture and rates of the GST have crippled micro, small and businesses, stunted the economy and has led to insurmountable job losses.
“The Modi government has achieved a notorious reputation for rapacious tax inspectors exercising draconian new powers of search and seizure resulting in ‘tax terrorism’. Predictably, this has sent a chill through the business community and no ‘ease of doing business’ is visible there,” he added.
Surjewala also accused Jaitley of missing important facts about India’s economy such as the GDP growth rate falling for six straight quarters. The International Monetary Fund expects the economy to grow 6.7% this year — slower than China, he said.
He also sought to know who is accountable for the “over 3.72 crore” job losses on account of demonetisation and shutting down of 680 start-ups.
“BJP Govt has set new records in falling exports. Share of exports in GDP has fallen a 14-year low. Private investment is stagnant,” he said.