Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday mocked at the BJP government over India’s improved global ranking in ease of doing business, asking Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to see how small traders were suffering due to the double blow of demonetisation and hasty implementation of GST.
Gandhi, in a fiery speech in poll-bound Gujarat, accused the BJP governments at the Centre and state of promoting crony capitalism. He said while small farmers, traders and businessmen were suffering hardships “five or 10 big industrialists were reaping benefits”.
“These five or 10 big industrialists, I will not name anyone, are ruling in every sector. Be it health, education, power, water, manufacturing,” he said.
“The BJP is going to get an electric shock in the Gujarat poll. People have realized the truth. The next government in Gujarat will be of farmers, poor, traders and not of Modiji’s industrialists.”
Gandhi lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said his ‘Make in India’ manufacturing and job-creating flagship scheme was a total failure.
“Let me give you some figures. India and China house almost the same number of people. But China creates 50,000 jobs every year. In India, we create only 450.
“Modiji speaks about ‘Make in India’. He promised everything will be made in India. But today, three million Gujaratis are jobless,” he said.
Targeting the government on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report released on Tuesday that saw India jump 30 ranks to number 100, Gandhi said: “Jaitleyji sits in his office and believes a foreign company talking of ease of doing business. Did Jaitleyji go to a small shop owner and ask what is the ease of doing business?
“What is spoken abroad is truth for this government but what the poor say in India is farce for them,” he said.
He said the ease of doing business in India was smashed by the government with its note ban decision and hasty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The Congress leader recalled how Modi had promised to unearth black money with one stroke of his demonetisation decision.
“Modiji doesn’t understand that all cash is not black and all black money is not in cash. Much of the black wealth is in real estate, gold or stashed abroad.
“It has been three years since the BJP came to power. How many Swiss bank account holders are behind the bars? What did Modiji do to bring back black money from Swiss banks.
“Look at Vijay Mallya. He is enjoying himself in London. What did Modiji do?”
He said demonetisation hit a severe blow to the labour class, farmers, small businesses and traders who rely heavily on cash transactions, but they were somehow managing when they were dealt another blow in the form of the GST.
“We warned the government don’t implement GST hastily. Do it easily, slowly, kindly. They didn’t listen to us. We told them it was not the Congress vs BJP. It is a matter that concerns the nation, the economy.”
He again called GST “Gabbar Singh Tax”, in a refrain that earnings of the poor were being snatched like the dacoit in the 1975 cult movie “Sholay” used to collect from poor villagers and farmers.
“I have named it Gabbar Singh Tax. Poor people work hard and their earning are snatched away.”