Govt living in denial on economy: P Chidambaram

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Devote more time to the economy, not on petty politics. Please focus on the job at hand.

P Chidambaram

New Delhi: Accusing the Modi government of living in denial in regard to the state of the economy, former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday claimed that the country’s economy was “perilously close to a collapse” and was being attended to by “incompetent doctors”. “Because of its refusal to admit mistakes, because it lives in denial, because of its predisposition, the government either does not know or if it knows is not willing to make it clear that this is the state of the economy,” said the Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha while initiating a debate on the Union budget. He said despite the country facing rising unemployment and falling consumption, the government continues to live in denial. The former finance minister said with an unprecedented six consecutive quarters of falling growth, the economy is facing demand constraints and is investment-starved.

The former finance minister said more money needs to be put in hands of people and not give “extraordinary powers” to junior taxmen to unleash “tax terrorism.”

Quoting Mr Modi’s advice given in November 2013 to him when he was the Union finance minister, he said “On November 2, 2013, a very distinguished political leader said “Economy is in trouble. The youth wants jobs. Devote more time to the economy, not on petty politics. Please focus on the job at hand. Very wise advice. I can’t do anything better than reading this piece of advice to the finance minister.” Noting that every competent doctor that the govt could ever find has left the country, he listed out former RBI governors Raghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel, former CEA Arvind Subramanian and former NITI Aayog VC Arvind Panagariya as persons who quit.