Modi govt has not, will not achieve double-digit growth: Chidambaram

Jaipur: Lashing out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not be able to achieve “double-digit economic growth” rate.

“The NDA government led by Prime Minister Modi promised double-digit growth rate, but in vain. The double-digit growth rate will not be achieved even in the last year of the NDA government. During the current regime, a higher number of companies have gone bankrupt and more bank accounts have turned non-performing under the present government,” said Chidambaram during a press conference here.

Chidambaram, who is here to campaign for the Congress party candidates in poll-bound Rajasthan, said, “More projects are stranded than ever before. More accounts have turned non-performing assets (NPAs) than ever before. More banks have been restrained from lending than ever before.”

“Savings, investment, credit growth to the industrial sector, especially to MSMEs, exports, and prices have all been negative for the economy. Seven percent growth has grave shortcomings as it does not create new jobs, it doesn’t lead to higher savings, neither it boosts the capital investment and nor does it increase the exports,” he added.

Chidambaram further said the new growth rate of 7 percent has a negative impact on the farming sector, as it does not fetch remunerative prices for agricultural produce and has, in turn, driven the farmers into deeper debt and distress.

Former Union Minister said the promise of “two lakh jobs for the youth” was nothing more than a false promise, adding that demonetization and Goods and Services Tax (GST) was “double blows to the nation’s economy”.

“Demonetisation and a distorted GST have claimed over a hundred lives, destroyed millions of jobs, sent into liquidation or debt thousands of micro, small and medium businesses, and robbed the confidence of the people in the credibility of the Indian government,” Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram said that the BJP should be punished by the people of Rajasthan where “the growth rate of credit to industries has been dismal. It was negative in 2015-16 and only 5.54 percent in 2016-17.”

While citing crime-related statistics of the state under the government of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Chidambaram said, “Crime has risen sharply in the state. There were 7,503 cases pending in 2011, which went up to 15,955 in 2016. The conviction rate has fallen from 64.5 percent in 2011 to 49.9 percent in 2016.

Talking about the state of education in the state, Chidambaram claimed that “only 25 percent of Class III children could do subtraction, while only 26 percent of Class V children could do division. Only 49 percent of the same class could read words, while only 39 percent of Class VII children could read sentences.”

Former Union Minister said, “The government has closed 17,000 schools and slashed 50,000 posts of teachers. As many as 78,544 posts of teachers are lying vacant in the state.”

Earlier on Thursday, the Congress party released its manifesto for the poll-bound state promising farm loan waiver, allowance to educated unemployed youths, and Accountability Bill and a lot more.

The manifesto was released by Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC) president Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot in the presence of other party leaders. “Our manifesto is not just a document, but a commitment,” said Pilot while releasing the manifesto.

The state of Rajasthan will go to polls on December 7 while the counting of votes would take place on December 11.