Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said the BJP government’s “administrative incompetence” and “policy blunders” were responsible for the rising farm distress, unemployment and failure of economy.
“Farmers’ despondency has turned into anger and they have come to streets to protest,” the senior Congress leader told reporters.
“The principal reasons are uneconomic price for farm produce and stagnant wages of farm labour. MSP (Minimum Support Price) is not adequate. Every farmer knows that the promise of MSP = Cost + 50 per cent is a ‘jumla’,” he said.
Chidambaram said the Reserve Bank of India’s confidence survey stated that 48 per cent felt that the economic situation of the country had worsened in the last 12 months.
He said unemployment was rampant in the country, which was “far cry” from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s promised two crore jobs a year.
Chidambaram questioned why the Labour Bureau Survey for October-December 2017 not yet released.
Chidambaram said demonetisation had caused the growth rate to decline from 8.2 per cent in 2015-16 to 6.7 per cent in 2017-18.
“The Tamil Nadu government has officially acknowledged that 50,000 MSME units were shut down in the state in 2017-18; 5,00,000 jobs were lost; and capital investment in the MSME sector declined by Rs 11,000 crore,” he said.
A flawed Goods and Services Tax continues to haunt trade and business, he added.
Chidambaram said the social security laws and programmes have been neglected by the BJP-led central government.
“The Food Security Act has not been implemented. MGNREGA is no longer demand-driven, wage arrears have mounted. Crop Insurance covers barely 30 per cent of farmers, it is a windfall for insurers. Health Protection Scheme is another ‘jumla’,” he said.