New Delhi: Facing the wrath by the Opposition over a host of banking frauds, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday hit back the Congress-led UPA government and the former prime minister saying that the banking system was dented under the “so-called economist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.”
"Under the so called economist, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the entire banking system went haywire due to all kinds of interference with it," senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told at a press conference in the national capital.
He said, “Congress party is anti-reform and it has been indulging in the politics of fear and confusion in the last four years.”
Accusing the former UPA government of not allowing the correct data to be entered into bank records, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Time and again we have stated that not a single loan given under our govt is Non-Performing Asset (NPA). In 2008, the total advance to people given by the banks was Rs 18.06 lakh crores. By March’14, the amount went up to Rs 52.15 lakh crore. The stressed asset identified out of this was only 36 per cent. Now the stressed asset has risen to 82 per cent out of that advances made in the UPA govt. This means for more than one occasions the correct data could not make it to the records. Under the so-called economist then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the entire banking system went haywire due to all kinds of interference with it.”
Further responding to the Congress attack over the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, involving celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the Union minister sought a reply from former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
He accused P Chidambaram of helping Gitanjali Jewellers in 2014. “There was a Scheme 80:20 introduced in August 2013 and repealed in November 2014. On May 16th, 2014, the date of the declaration of results, the then Finance Minister gave ‘aashirvaad’ (blessings) to seven private companies under 80:20 Scheme. One of those companies was Gitanjali. The party must answer why this benefit was given to these companies.”
The 80:20 scheme was launched by the UPA in August 2013, when the government was trying to curb gold imports to tackle the current account deficit.
According to the scheme, private traders were allowed to export 20 per cent of the imported gold and retain the rest for domestic use. The scheme was scrapped by the NDA government in November 2014.
"The Congress must answer who were those people who were lobbying on behalf of Gitanjali and related companies. And how much cut were they taking? Rahul Gandhi must answer after he returns from Italy," the Union minister said.
Alleging that stressed assets of government banks rose from 32 per cent to 82 per cent during the UPA tenure, Prasad said, "Many times the UPA did not allow correct data to be entered into bank records. Advances (to banks) rose during UPA but were not recorded in the books."
Calling the Congress "anti-reform", Ravi Shankar Prasad said the party that came up with Aadhaar is today its worst critic.
"Congress party has issues with technology since technology brings transparency," the Union minister said.
Ravi Shankar Prasad also targeted the Congress over the Rafale deal controversy. “It is very surprising that the Congress party which is drowned in corruption in Bofors among other purchases of the weapons system is raising questions on Rafale deal. It couldn’t execute Rafale deal for ten years and are now creating a chaos when PM Modi has got the best deal in terms of price, effectiveness and weapon system,” he said.
Targeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi for not doing proper research before posing questions on Twitter, the Information and Technology minister said, “Now once he is back from Italy, I expect him to answer our questions.”
Referring to the recently-concluded Northeast Assembly elections, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “While BJP is moving from ‘shunya to shikhar’ (from zero to top), Congress is moving from ‘shikhar to shunya’ (from top to zero).”
Calling Nagaland election results as a “tectonic shift,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “In a state with 80 per cent Christian population, 12 of our 20 candidates won the seats. This shows that people are coming forward under PM Modi’s vision of ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikaas’.”