New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday launched a frontal attack on the Modi government, saying it is just full of flashy slogans and instead of taking the country towards Amrit Kal it is plunging the nation into Andh Kal (darkness).
In his address in the Lok Sabha during the general discussion on the Union Budget, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said that the budget has failed to safeguard the people from economic distress.
“One fifth of the population has seen their income plunge by 56 per cent,” he said, and attacking the government said it is a “one man rule with scant regard for the rules of the country.”
He said the budget has caused “widespread anguish” among the people, and it has not tackled the increasing unemployment, or the crisis that the middle class is facing, or arrested the rise in prices, and the mounting inequality in country.
He also criticized the “significant slashing” of the MNREGA funds, and the “token support to MSMEs” in the budget, and said it had no relief to offer to tackle inflation. Tharoor said the government has been able to provide only 60 lakh jobs in five years, against its promise of providing one crore jobs a year.
“The government is full of hollow slogans and insincere promises, and infamous jumlas. The budget marks a betrayal of people by the government,” said Tharoor.
He said the “Aam admi” or common man finds himself in a state of distress and added that the 2016 demonetisation caused widespread havoc in peoples lives, as well as the decision to repeatedly increase the excise on fuel.
Tharoor said that jobless youth are facing difficulties. “It is a matter of national disgrace that this government has chosen to slash MNREGA funds despite rising unemployment and rural distress,” he added.
He said that PM Modi had criticized the MREGA scheme when he came to power but it is this very scheme that is being used to boost rural income and employment, and added that the Congress is proud of having introduced the scheme.
He said the budget had seen a cut of Rs 25,000 crore in MNREGA funds to Rs 73,000 crores. Tharoor said MNREGA needs Rs 3.5 lakh crores to meet the demand for jobs, and added that last year 91 lakh households were refused jobs under the scheme.
He said the Modi government is providing only 60 days of employment as against the 100 days of employment that it is supposed to guarantee. Taking on the Modi government on MSMEs, he said that 60 lakh MSMEs went out of business after the demonetization, and that the rest of the MSMEs shut down last year.
The budget is widening the chasm between the rich and poor, rural and urban sections, he added.