UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi.

Govt clueless about economic crisis, stealing from RBI: Congress

  • BJP hits back, says attempts to build a narrative around ‘stealing’ was rejected by people in 2019 LS polls
  • Congress has been highlighting the economic crisis and job losses as its key political narrative

NEW DELHI : A day after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it will transfer 1.76 trillion to the Centre, the political slugfest over the slowing Indian economy gained momentum on Tuesday with the Congress accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government of being “clueless" about the crisis and “stealing money" from the central bank.

The BJP was quick to hit back saying that the attempts to build a narrative around “stealing" was rejected by the people in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman of being “clueless about how to solve their self created economic disaster".


“Stealing from RBI won’t work—it’s like stealing a Band-Aid from the dispensary & sticking it on a gunshot wound. #RBILooted," Gandhi said on the microblogging site.

After a board meeting in Mumbai on Monday, the central bank had said the transfer to the government will include 1.23 trillion of surplus for 2018-19, and 52,637 crore of excess provisions identified under the revised economic capital framework adopted at the meeting.

Sitharaman responded to Gandhi’s allegations by saying that the earlier narrative of “theft" was rejected by the people, in reference to the huge mandate the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance got in the Lok Sabha elections.

“What does this show? He should at least make such allegations after speaking to the former finance ministers of his own party. He is now an expert in calling people thief, so what can one say on this?" Sitharaman said at a press conference in Pune.

The Congress, which has been trying to highlight the economic crisis and job losses as its key political narrative in the run-up to the assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand, scheduled for later this year, upped the ante with former Union minister Anand Sharma saying that the government’s decision to take the surplus given by RBI will be catastrophic.

“The government has done it out of sheer desperation. Its follies have brought the Indian economy to ruin," Sharma said at a press briefing.

Sharma also demanded that the Centre brings out a white paper on the state of the Indian economy within a week.

The allegation levelled by the Congress were echoed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, with party general secretary Sitaram Yechury accusing the Union government of “mercilessly" attacking the livelihood of the masses and the economy.

“Since 2014, the Modi government has appropriated 99% of the RBI’s profits every year to fund its propaganda campaigns. It has now siphoned off 1.76 lakh crores ostensibly to recapitalise banks which have been looted by Modi’s cronies," the CPM leader posted on Twitter.

Another Opposition leader, Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), said the central government was the first one to take 99% of RBI’s profit. Owaisi claimed on Tuesday that the Modi-led government at the Centre was seeking to divert people’s attention towards emotional issues rather than more pressing problems such as lack of jobs.

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