To Notes Ban, GST Attack, Manmohan Singh Adds the Bullet Train

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The Congress got out its top gun on the economy on Tuesday, fielding former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in Gujarat to amplify party vice president Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the Narendra Modi government’s mega reforms, the notes ban and new national sales tax GST. Dr Singh said the “twin blow is a complete disaster for our economy, it has broken the back of our small businesses.” He also slammed the bullet train plan as an “exercise in vanity.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ban on high value notes exactly a year ago was a “disastrous policy” thrust on the people,” Dr Singh said, calling demonetisation “a reckless step”, with none of its objectives achieved. “I repeat what I said in parliament, this was organised loot and legalised plunder,” the former Prime Minister and famous economist said.

Congress governments had not resorted to banning high value notes because “coercive steps like demonetisation are ineffective. Nowhere in the world has any nation taken such a drastic step that swept off 86% of the currency,” Dr Singh asserted. PM Modi said over the weekend in election speeches in Himachal Pradesh that had former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of the Congress opted for a notes ban when needed, he would not have had to do so. PM Modi has in speeches emphasized that long-term gains are expected of demonetisation and GST, and has said those who oppose them are weakening the cause of fighting corruption.

The Congress got out its top gun on the economy on Tuesday, fielding former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in Gujarat to amplify party vice president Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the Narendra Modi government’s mega reforms, the notes ban and new national sales tax GST. Dr Singh said the “twin blow is a complete disaster for our economy, it has broken the back of our small businesses.” He also slammed the bullet train plan as an “exercise in vanity.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ban on high value notes exactly a year ago was a “disastrous policy” thrust on the people,” Dr Singh said, calling demonetisation “a reckless step”, with none of its objectives achieved. “I repeat what I said in parliament, this was organised loot and legalised plunder,” the former Prime Minister and famous economist said.

Congress governments had not resorted to banning high value notes because “coercive steps like demonetisation are ineffective. Nowhere in the world has any nation taken such a drastic step that swept off 86% of the currency,” Dr Singh asserted. PM Modi said over the weekend in election speeches in Himachal Pradesh that had former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of the Congress opted for a notes ban when needed, he would not have had to do so. PM Modi has in speeches emphasized that long-term gains are expected of demonetisation and GST, and has said those who oppose them are weakening the cause of fighting corruption.

The Congress is seeking to wrest Gujarat from the BJP, which has ruled the state for the last 22 years straight. Rahul Gandhi has in his Gujarat campaign made aggressive attacks on PM Modi and his government over both the notes ban and GST, which he has labeled the”Gabbar Singh Tax” after the famous villain from Bollywood superhit Sholay. Mr Gandhi says the “two quick shots to the chest,” have brought Gujarat’s small traders to their knees and they must punish the BJP by voting against it in next month’s assembly elections.

Rahul Gandhi has said that GST has its merits, but has accused the government of a hurried and unwieldy roll-out and has promised to revamp it completely if his party is voted to power at the Centre in 2019.

“A well designed GST would have been revolutionary…I appreciated that when despite opposing GST as a Chief Minister he (PM Modi) changed his mind as Prime Minister and decided to go for it…But the loopholes and an ill designed GST have caused hardships,” Dr Singh said.

Rahul Gandhi will visit Gujarat again tomorrow and is expected to join his party’s protests against the notes ban in Surat, a textile and diamond hub. The Congress has said it is marking November 8, a year since the notes ban, as “black day.”

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