The Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi, today came down hard on the Centre’s National Monetisation Pipeline announced yesterday. It said the move was aimed to help “2-3 private players” and also countered the BJP’s favoured allegation that there had been no development in India under the Congress.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over the monetisation plan, Mr Gandhi said “only a few businesses will be left” as a result of it and that employment opportunities would decline.
“I want to tell the youth what the country is selling and which asset is going to whom,” the Congress General Secretary said, listing out the various infrastructure areas that will be monetised according to him.
“This is being sold 2 to 3 private players…I spoke on Corona all of you laughed and you saw, and I am saying this that this will have a huge impact on the future of this country,” he said.
The R 6 lakh crore monetisation plan was yesterday unveiled by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman aimed at “unlocking value” by involving private companies across infrastructure sectors. Upto 25 airports, 40 railway stations, and 15 railway stadiums, among other installations, have been identified to get private investments.
Citing examples like assets in “railways, ₹ 1.5 lakh crore”, Mr Gandhi warned the sector’s employees about what such a move potentially means for them.
Similarly, he emphasised “warehousing, ₹ 29,000 crore”, and added, “You know who it is going to…You all know who is getting ports and airports. It is going to one company.”
The Congress leader has often attacked PM Modi over his alleged closeness to business conglomerates, zeroing-in on the likes of the Adani group and the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries. His “suit-boot ki sarkar” jibe is believed to have often rankled the BJP in the past.
As part of its political attack today, the opposition party also cited the BJP’s constant criticism that successive Congress governments had produced no development in the country for decades since Independence.
“The BJP’s slogan was that there had been no development in 70 years. Yesterday the Finance Minister announced a decision to monetise all the assets built in the past 70 years,” Mr Gandhi said.
Taking a dig at the National Monetisation Pipeline, party leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted saying the BJP must at least now acknowledge that Congress governments had built the nation’s assets.
Referring to the monetisation plan itself, senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said there had been no criteria or goals for such a big exercise.
“Have they consulted stakeholders, the unions, etc? All this was hatched in NITI Ayog. Can this be the sole goal, to get money through rent? To get 1.5 lakh crore?” he asked.
“This is a grand closing down sale. Virtually, there won’t be any public sector undertakings left after the proposed ‘roads-to-railways’ monetisation plan of the BJP government.”