NDA’s approach to economy, governance is pro rich: Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 1 (UNI) Terming the NDA Government as the “government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich”, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday said that the fundamental flaw in the NDA’s approach to the economy and governance is that it is biased in favour of the rich.

Addressing a press conference here, Chidambaram said, “The government is either ignorant or callous to the fact that the top 10% owns 60% of the nation’s wealth and earns 57% of the national income and that income inequality has widened significantly in the last 10 years.

This outcome is because of the lower growth rate during the 10 year period (2014 – 2024) as against the UPA period (2004 – 2014),” he said.

“In the last year of UPA, 2013-14, we left a GDP growth rate of 6.4% and an average growth rate of 7.5%. In the NDA period the average growth rate has been less than 6%, the former Finance Minister said.

He said that the numbers given in the Finance Ministry’s mini Economic Survey and the Finance Minister’s speech have been challenged by economists and domain experts.

Quoting PLFS and the State of Working India Report, 2023, the Congress leader said that the unemployment rate among youth between the age of 15-29 years is 10%. Adding that the unemployment rate among the graduates under 25 years, the rate is 42.3%.

On farmers, Chidamabaram said that farmers are unhappy doing farming. “The FM spoke about farmers but she did not reveal the number of suicides among farmers,” he added.

He said, “The FM spoke about GDP, but she did not speak about the per capita income. She spoke about free grain to 80 crore persons, but she did not speak about India’s rank in the Global Hunger Index or to widespread malnutrition among children leading to a high proportion of stunting and wasting”.

The Rajya Sabha MP said that the government boasts about establishing numerous educational institutions and AIIMS-like hospitals must be pitted against the facts that thousands of teaching posts are vacant in Central Universities and central government established institutions, especially posts reserved for SC, ST and OBC.

Targetting the government’s minimum government and maximum governance initiative, Chidambaram said that the ‘minimum’ government policy, in reality, has undermined federalism, starved state governments of funds and virtually reduced the third tier of governance — panchayats and municipalities — to ciphers.

“Since it is an interim budget, I shall say no more. However, the interim budget and what went before in the last 10 years have left us with a lot to talk about in the days ahead,” he added.

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