‘Who’s Pappu Now?’ Mahua Moitra’s Swipe At Govt In Lok Sabha Over Fall In Industrial Production

Trinamool Congress member of parliament (MP) Mahua Moitra questioned the Centre’s handling of the economy on Tuesday, citing government data showing an industrial downturn and asking, “Who is the ‘Pappu’ now?”

Participating in a Lok Sabha debate on demands for more funds for 2022-23, the TMC’s fiery leader remarked, “The term Pappu was coined by this government and the ruling party. You use it to demean and denote excessive incompetence. However, statistics reveal who the real Pappu is”.

Moitra accused the Narendra Modi government of promoting “falsehood” about India’s progress and urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to take charge of the economy, which he claims is in decline.

According to the most recent National Statistical Office (NSO) figures, while the country’s industrial output fell by 4% in October to a 26-month low, the manufacturing sector, which is “still the biggest producer of jobs,” fell by 5.6%.

“Seventeen of the industry sectors that make up the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) have recorded negative growth. Forex reserves have fallen by 72 billion dollars in under a year,” news agency PTI quoted her as saying.

According to the NSO’s IIP data, the manufacturing sector’s output fell by 5.6 per cent in October 2022, after increasing by 3.3 per cent the previous month.

She also slammed the BJP for its failure in the recently ended Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, claiming that the ruling party’s president could not defend his home state. “Who is the new Pappu?” she inquired.

Himachal Pradesh is the home state of BJP national president JP Nadda, and Congress won the state in the elections.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated during Question Hour on Monday that India receives 50% of foreign institutional investor inflows into emerging markets, but the government told the House last Friday in response to a question that nearly 2 lakh people renounced their Indian citizenship in the first ten months of 2022, according to Moitra.

“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.

“Is this a sign of a good economic or tax climate (in the country)?” she wondered, adding, “Who is the Pappu now?” The TMC member claimed that the country is in an “environment of dread,” with the “sword” of the Enforcement Directorate hanging over “businessmen and high-net-worth persons,” as well as opposition party leaders.

“The ruling party buys lawmakers for hundreds of crores of rupees, yet opposition MPs account for 95% of those under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate,” Moitra claimed.

She accused the government of disseminating falsehoods about India’s growth story under Prime Minister Modi, and said the government’s 2016 demonetisation of high-value money had failed to meet its aims since cash is “still king” and phasing out fake currency is still a faraway dream.

“This government has us believe every February that this country’s economy is going great guns, we are the fastest growing most efficient global player, everyone is getting employment, cylinders, electricity and pucca houses. This falsehood flies for eight to 10 months and the truth comes out limping after it,” The TMC leader said.

“We are now in December and the government says it needs another 3.26 lakh crores as additional funds over and above the budget estimates,” she said.

In response to the TMC member’s ‘Pappu’ remark, BJP member Jagdambika Pal offered some observations, which Rajendra Agarwal, the Chair, indicated would not be recorded.

Pal, who took part in the debate, defended the government, claiming that India, under Prime Minister Modi, is one of the top five world economies. “If anyone is capable of controlling inflation, it is the Narendra Modi government,” he remarked.

He stated that India’s exports are expanding day by day under PM Modi’s leadership, and the country is on its road to becoming a five trillion dollar economy.

“We will come again in 2024 (after winning Lok Sabha elections) and talk about coming at the top of the world,” the BJP MP added.

Opposition Questions Government On Country’s Economic Condition:

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule inquired whether the government has a plan in place to address the country’s economic situation.

She said that programmes like the Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana were not being executed due to a shortage of money.

She claimed that the government continued to tout the booming economy at a time when India’s industrial growth was stagnant and unemployment was at an all-time high.

“I want to ask the government, does it have a roadmap on how to improve the economic condition of the country,” Sule said.

National Conference member Hasnain Masoodi said the economic condition of farmers was a matter of concern.

“One lakh workers are waiting for their wages. Apple which is the spine of Kashmir is also struggling. Saffron production has registered a 20 per cent fall due to pollution,” he said.

According to RSP member N K Premachandran, the demand for surplus handouts amounting to 10% of the total budget request demonstrated the government’s inadequate fiscal planning.

Premachandran questioned the government’s plan to keep the fiscal deficit at 6.4% of GDP, as declared by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget statement.

“What is the sanctity of budget proposals when the government pursues supplementary demands for grants amounting to 10% of budgetary proposals during the first two quarters of the fiscal year?” Premachandran said.

According to Congress member Mohammad Javed, India imports 90% of its fertiliser needs and there is no plan to make the country self-sufficient in this area.

He claimed that the government’s need to provide free food grains to 81 crore people demonstrated that the country’s destitute population had grown.

“This would not have happened if the prime minister had honoured his pledge of creating two crore employment every year,” Javed stated.

Prataprao Jadhav of the Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde faction praised the prime minister for constructing infrastructure such as roads and highways around the country.

BJP member Saumitra Khan praised the prime minister and finance minister for leading the country through a period of global economic uncertainty.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, an Akali Dal member, blasted the Punjab government for spending “hundreds of crores of rupees” on advertisements in newspapers as far away as Tamil Nadu seeking comments for the state budget.

To raise revenue, Badal demanded that the government apply GST on government advertisements.

Thomas Chazhikadan, a Congress member, expressed the rubber growers’ worries and urged that the government set a minimum support price of Rs 250 per kg for rubber.

(With Inputs From PTI)