Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday said the Union Budget 2023-24 is a “silent strike” on the poor by the Modi government and is at the heart of all the far-reaching rights-based legislation enacted during the UPA regime.
In an opinion piece for The Indian Express, Gandhi also made an explicit reference to the allegations against the Adani group, stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers resorting to the chanting of ‘Vishwa Guru’ and ‘Amrit Kaal’ even as “financial scams” on his “favourite and favorite businessmen” are coming to the fore.
“The Prime Minister’s policy of benefiting a few of his rich friends at the expense of poor and middle class Indians has led to successive disasters – from demonetisation to the badly designed GST to small businesses, the failure to bring in the three farm laws Agriculture was neglected until and after the effort,” alleged Gandhi.
The “disastrous” privatization has cheaply handed over priceless national assets to select private hands, leading to unemployment, especially for SCs and STs, he alleged.
“Even the hard earned money of crores of poor and middle class Indians is at risk as the government has forced public institutions like LIC and SBI to invest in poorly managed companies owned by their chosen friends. ” Allegations on Adani group
Shares of Adani Group have come under pressure on the stock markets following allegations including fraudulent transactions and manipulation of share prices by US-based activist short-seller Hindenburg Research against the Gautam Adani-led group, which has dismissed the allegations as false. rejected.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, have alleged that the fall in Adani Group shares is a scam involving common people’s money as LIC and SBI have invested in them.
“Deprived of ideas, the Prime Minister and his ministers are resorting to loud mantras of ‘Vishwaguru’ and ‘Amrit Kaal’ even as financial scams on the PM’s favorite and favorite businessman are coming to the fore. It will do little to help crores of vulnerable Indians worried about their livelihood, savings and future,” Gandhi said.
He said in his article in the English daily that it is now the duty of like-minded Indians to join hands, oppose the harmful actions of this government and together create the change that people want to see.
“In the recently concluded India Jodo Yatra, travelers walked from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and interacted with lakhs of Indians from all walks of life. The voices he heard were expressing deep economic distress and widespread despair in the direction of India going,” Gandhi said.
He said whether poor or middle class, rural or urban, Indians are being “punished” by the triple threat of price rise, unemployment and falling incomes.
The Congress Parliamentary Party President said, “The Budget for 2023-24 has not only failed to address these critical challenges, but has made them worse by reducing the allocations meant for the poor and vulnerable.”
The former Congress chief said, “This is a silent strike on the poor by the Modi government, which is at the heart of all the far-reaching rights-based legislation enacted by the UPA government during 2004-14.”
Gandhi said that the promise of independence was for every Indian to have a good life, not only to have their basic needs met but also to have equal opportunities to empower themselves socially, economically and politically.
He said that the rights-based legislation of the UPA era was a well thought out harmonious step towards this goal.
Rights-based laws empower citizens, and ensure that it is the duty of the government to provide education, food, work, and nutrition, Gandhi emphasized.
He alleged that the Prime Minister does not hide his “dislike” for all this talk of rights.
“He started by ridiculing him in Parliament but was forced to trust him during COVID-19. With this budget, they have funding they haven’t seen in more than a decade,” she said.
Gandhi said rural laborers will have less work as funding for MGNREGA has been reduced by a third, bringing it down from 2018-19 levels.
“Our schools will be starved of resources, and funding for the renewed Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will be frozen for three years in a row. Children will get less nutritious food as funding for mid-day meals in schools has fallen by one-tenth this year,” the former Congress chief said.
He said that this deadly combination of insufficient funds and rising inflation directly harms the poorest and most deprived people of the country.
“As expected, there is complete silence from the Prime Minister on why this attack on social schemes was needed during this crisis. Reading between these lines, we understand that the rationale is to fund capital expenditure, which has been sharply increased in the budget,” he said.
Gandhi said experts have cast doubt on the credibility of the data on whether the money has been well spent, and are wary that a large proportion of the money may be reaching only friends and allies of the government.
However, keeping these doubts aside, there is a larger point – funding infrastructure at the cost of human development is a mistake, both in the short term and the long term, argued the Congress leader.
In the long term, history teaches us that a healthy and educated population is the foundation of prosperity, Gandhi insisted.
Gandhi said drastic cuts in social security, education, nutrition and health are hurting the poorest today and blocking the country’s progress tomorrow.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)