By Neeraj Nanda
Melbourne, 3 Oct: The former Indian Finance Minister under the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, P. Chidambaram today accused the Modi led BJP government of distractions leading to India’s decline on the economic and social trajectory.
Mr. P. Chidambaram was addressing a big gathering at the Melbourne University at a public lecture organized by the Australia India Institute.
Mr. Chidambaram said, “There were social distractions in interfaith relations, beef consumption issue, dress code, Hindi language, issue of J-K special status etc.”
“On the economic front demonetization and the insufficient implementation of the newly introduced Goods & Services Tax (GST) have led the GDP decline to 5.7 percent (April 2017)’.
1.5 million jobs have been lost as a consequence of the GDP decline,” he said.
Answering to a question on demonetization, the former Finance Minister said, “Everything about it was bad and none of the objectives were achieved.”
“The Economic Advisory Council was not consulted, RBI not told and no substantial debate took place in the Cabinet. Because all this did not happen the wrong decision of demonetization was taken,” he said.
The other distractions, he said, were the slowdown in infrastructure development, student trouble in universities, dalit issues and a big rise in unemployment.
Answering to a pointed question by SAT on the killing of journalists and others, Mr. Chidambaram said, we have to see who is being killed and what is leading to the killings.
He said, “journalists and others who are outspoken, progressive, fearless and opposed to the current government are the targets. We have to see who is creating the conditions for these killings”.
Without naming the ruling BJP, Mr. Chidambaram said, “It is those people who want to divide the Indian people are behind these killings.”