Demonetisation monumental blunder, GST hastily implemented: Manmohan Singh

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"I repeat what I said in the parliament, this was organised loot and legalised plunder". Speaking at a Congress event in Ahmedabad, he emphasised how the two decisions are "twin blows to India's economy" that have pushed Indian farmers and entrepreneurs into despair, but benefited China.

Manmohan Singh criticised the government for an attitude "of suspecting everyone to be a thief or anti-national", and said, "low-level rhetoric is damaging to democratic discourse".

He said while the demonetisation had reduced economic growth to 5.7 per cent, it was still "bound to be a gross underestimate as the pain of the informal sector is not adequately captured in the calculation of the GDP".

"Tomorrow we mark one year since the disastrous policy was thrust on the people of our country", said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Ahemedabad on Novermber 7 while interacting with businessmen and traders of Gujarat. Compliance requirements have become a nightmare for small businesses. Making a powerful defence of the exercise on the eve of one year of demonetisation, Jaitley said reform initiatives taken by the BJP-led government had lifted India's stature in the global economy, the measures preventing it from being knocked off the global radar and raising it to a position where all worldwide agencies have been eulogising the structural reforms. He pointed out: "Along with demonetisation, GST has sown a deep rooted fear of tax terrorism amongst the business community".

At a time when the economy has slowed down considerably, despite favourable global macroeconomic conditions, the fear of tax terrorism has eroded the confidence of businesses to invest. "As you know, the growth in private investment is at a 25-year low".

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Industries in Surat, Vapi, Morbi and other parts of Gujarat were badly hit by demonetisation and GST.

A total of 18 Opposition parties have made a decision to observe November 8 as "Black Day" with protests and rallies across states to highlight "the cash crunch and economic slowdown", with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi meeting industrialists in Gujarat's Surat to highlight their "woes". It has broken the back of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the textile hub of Surat alone where 60,000 looms have been discarded since July. In the rest of the country, it is equally bad if not worse. Undisclosed income admitted and detected, taken together, amount to Rs 29,213 crores, close to 18 per cent of the amount involved in suspicious transactions, he said.

"Unprecedented growth of imports by over Rs.45,000 Crore, a 23 per cent increase in a year can be attributed largely to demonetisation, GST", he said. "These twin blows damaged India's medium and small manufacturing sectors and our businesses had to run to Chinese imports at the cost of Indian jobs".

"The bullet train project launched with much fanfare is sadly an exercise in vanity and will not benefit either 6.5 crore Gujaratis or the nation". He said that "Did the PM consider the alternative of the high speed train by upgrading broad gauge railway?" He stated that the time for politicking was over and the prime minister should graciously acknowledge the blunder and seek support to rebuild the economy.

Singh's presence in Gujarat will boost the Congress, as the state witnesses heated campaigning for the December assembly polls. "We will ensure that the voice of every Gujarati regardless of caste, creed, gender or class is heard and will be heard", he concluded.

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