Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member Mahua Moitra on Tuesday attacked the government over its claims of economic progress, citing its own data on industrial output. Every February, the government had people believe that the economy is doing great, and that everyone is getting all basic amenities like gas cylinders, housing, and electricity, Ms Moitra said, terming the claims “falsehoods”, and added that eight months later, now in December, “the truth comes limping after it.” She said the government has said it needs Rs 3.26 lakh in additional funds, over and above the budget estimate.
In a Lok Sabha debate on demands for additional grants for 2022-23, Ms Moitra accused the Narendra Modi government of spreading “falsehood” about India’s growth and appealed to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to take control of the economy, which, according to the TMC leader, is going downhill.
Ms Moitra started by quoting the author Jonathan Swift. “As the vilest writer has his readers, so the greatest liar has believers. And it often happens, that if a lie be believed only for an hour, it has done its work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies and truth comes limping after it,” she said.
She then took on the government over its alleged coining of the term “Pappu”.
“This government and the ruling party coined the term Pappu. You use it to denigrate and signify extreme incompetence. But the statistics tell us who the actual Pappu is,” she said. Referring to the latest data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ms Moitra claimed that while the country’s industrial output shrunk by four per cent in October to a 26-month low, the manufacturing sector, which is “still the biggest generator of jobs”, has contracted to 5.6 per cent.
She also took a swipe at the BJP over its defeat in the just-concluded Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, saying the ruling party’s president could not hold on to his home state. “Who is the Pappu now?” she asked.
Mahua Moitra also pointed to the “exodus” of Indians, citing data of the rising number of people renouncing their Indian citizenship.
“17 of the industry sectors that make up the index of industrial production have recorded negative growth rates. Forex reserves have fallen by $72 billion in under a year. The Honourable Finance Minister yesterday during question hour mentioned how apparently 50% of Foreign Direct Investment inflows into emerging markets are coming into India. Wonderful. But her colleague, the Minister of State for External Affairs, just last Friday, in response to a question in this very House stated that almost 2,00,000 people — 1,83,741 people — renounced their Indian citizenship in the first ten months of 2022. This exodus of 2022 takes the total number of Indians renouncing Indian citizenship under this government in the past nine years, since 2014, to over 12.5 lakh people,” she said.
Ms Moitra also claimed that high net worth individuals are willing to pay big money to get citizenship in other countries.
“Is this the sign of a healthy economic environment? Of a healthy tax environment? Who’s the pupu now? There is an atmosphere of terror in this country, with the sword of the Enforcement Directorate hanging over businessmen and high net worth individuals,” she said.
“The ruling party buys lawmakers for hundreds of crores of rupees and yet members of the opposition represent 95 per cent of the lawmakers under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate,” Ms Moitra alleged.
She accused the government of spreading falsehood over India’s growth story under Prime Minister Modi and said demonetisation of high value currency enforced by it in 2016 had failed to achieve its targets as cash is “still king” and phasing out of fake currency is still a distant dream.