Former finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram attacked the Narendra Modi Government and said there is no overarching vision or specific programmes for the economy. He said achche din for the economy would have meant more jobs and development, but both have not happened under the Modi regime.

Criticising his successor Arun Jaitley, Chidambaram said the new government is not investor friendly as the credit growth is lowest in many years and the aggregate demand is sluggish. Quoting surveys, he said 585 private sector projects were stalled in the last one year. “How will an investor come in?” he asked.

He also rejected accusations from the Centre that the Opposition is playing politics of obstructionism. “I reject the charge of obstruction. They will not achieve double-digit growth by accusing the opposition,” he said.

Different ratings

He said despite big promises during the election campaign, the government failed to create jobs. “I do not see any creation of jobs. What has one year brought in terms of jobs. In terms of jobs, I will give this government zero,” he said when asked to rate its performance.

Maintaining that it is the job of the media to rate the government, he said individuals will rate according to their experience of the government. “Farmers in general and agriculture experts like Ashok Gulati will give this government a zero rating. But if you will ask a big industrialist who was promised ₹5,000 crore from State Bank of India, he will of course give 10 out of 10,” Chidambaram said adding that the Centre failed to contain price rise of essential commodities such as pulses, vegetables and milk. He said the benefits of decrease in oil prices are not passed on to the consumer as “Jaitley gets a windfall” by doing so. He added that by increasing excise duty and imposing customs duty on petrol and diesel, the government will get about ₹50,000 crore. “Inflation began to decrease in November, 2013. Within six months of the new regime, Wholesale Price Index has touched zero. The biggest contributors for this are our friends who produce oil,” Chidambaram said.

Proposals shelved

The former Finance Minister said the Centre is not implementing major reform initiatives of the previous government. “Why did you put Direct Taxes Code on the backburner? Why did you ditch Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA), why are you not implementing the legislative proposals of Financial Sector Legislation Reforms Commission? These are completely puzzling. These are absolutely necessary. Why have all of these been put on the backburner when you have 282 members in the Lok Sabha,” he asked.