As the BJP raises the national security pitch ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the main Opposition Congress’ attempt will be to drive the narrative back to issues like joblessness, farmer agitations and its big-ticket promise of providing a minimum income guarantee to the poor.
Speaking to DH on various issues of national importance, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the next government would have to do something very “dramatic” to lift the economy out of the present morass and charged the NDA with doing too little on jobs and growth front.
DH Exclusive | Top 3 issues in 2019 polls are jobs, jobs and jobs: PC
Chidambaram said there were at least half-a-dozen sectors which needed a focused approach to creating jobs in the country and the Congress manifesto would come out with a detailed sectoral approach to solve job problems.
“We will take a sectoral approach. A focused approach for each job-creating sector. There can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. We will have a sectoral approach that will promote jobs rather than capital-led growth. Our manifesto will analyse each one of them,”he said.
On the Congress’ minimum income guarantee (MIG) promise, Chidambaram said they would come up with a well thought-out plan. He said MIG would cover the bottom 10% of the poor in the country in the first year, which appeared “difficult but not impossible”.
Dismissing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to double farmers’ income by 2022, he said it was a wrong calculation which would not see the light of day even several years after 2022.
“The whole approach is flawed. We will ensure that the farm income grows at a healthy rate and is supplemented with non-farm income and off-farm income,” he said.
Calling the Goods and Services Tax (GST) flawed legislation, Chidambaram said they would bring in a completely new GST, which would be called GST-2.
“We are going to call our GST ‘The GST Two’. Which means this GST is hopelessly flawed. They are trying to fix it. You must have seen in the last six to seven months… They are desperately fixing it… cutting rates… issuing a notification… making a rule. It is in utter confusion,” he said.
A day after an RBI minutes raised questions on demonetisation, Chidambaram said businesses in most parts of the country were still reeling under its impact.