Congress: Govt pushing the country to bankruptcy (Lead)

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) The Congress on Tuesday slammed the BJP government over the Reserve Bank of India's transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in dividend and surplus reserves to the government and accused it of pushing the country towards bankruptcy.

The party asked the government to issue a white paper on economy within seven days.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters, Congress leader Anand Sharma said: "We are charging this government with monumental mismanagement of the Indian economy, which is now in a serious crisis."

He said it is not a recession or a downturn. The situation is grim, he said. "India is now in the midst of the worst-ever financial crisis. This government is pushing the country towards the bankruptcy because of its policies," he said.

Hitting out at the government for remaining in denial mode, the Congress leader said, "The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister cannot remain in denial. They are deflecting public attention from real issues," Sharma said, adding the government's Monday decision was the "confirmation of what we have been warning about the state of the Indian economy.

Sharma pointed out that all previous RBI chiefs - including Raghuram Rajan, Urjit Patel, D. Subbarao and Y. Venugopal Reddy -- had opposed the move.

Without naming Subhash Garg, the Congress leader said even the Finance Secretary who has recently taken voluntary retirement was opposed to transfer any surplus to the government.

The Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said, "The Jalan Committee, the first one which made its recommendation bringing down the CRB to the minimal level - below which you cannot go as per RBI's own rating internationally as a Central bank, it will collapse.

"So, that has been brought down to the lowest level which nobody is willing to accept -- 5.5 per cent shaving off 1.3 per cent of the CRB," he said.

Giving example of Argentina, he said that the country's central bank transferred its surplus income recently and the country's economy got ruined as a result.

Sharma said the last quarter of 2018-19 showed an increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 5.8 per cent. But the current financial year's first quarter for which final figures would be out on August 30 was projected to be at 5.6 per cent, the "least" in seven years.

Sharma said the index of industrial production was at 2 per cent and for manufacturing, at 1.2 per cent."The Indian Rupee has lost 4 per cent of its value and is currently Asia's worst performing currency," he said.

He said that unemployment was at 8.2 per cent while in reality it was more than 20 per cent.

"Any economist can verify that. Industries are in danger, be it automobile sector or others. People are not even getting loans and hence demand is low," he said.

Slamming the government, Sharma said: "The government decided that RBI's excess, known as Contingency Risk Buffer (CRB), be given to government. No central bank hands over its risk buffer to the government."

He said Jalan had earlier said that the amount would be transferred to the government in instalments over a period of 4-5 years. Instead, it was given at one go. Sharma pointed out that the difference between the government budget and Economic Survey was Rs 1.7 lakh crores and they had taken Rs 1.76 lakh crore from the RBI.

"The government made a wrong budget, it's in loss. That's why they snatched RBI's money and pushed the country towards an economic emergency," he said, adding that it all happened due to the mismanagement of economy.

--IANS

aks/prs

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