Chidambaram lauds NDA govt’s Clean Ganga, National Highway programmes

Chennai: Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has lauded the Narendra Modi government for its Clean Ganga initiative and the National Highway programme.

Chidambaram, however, said he is “angry” over the government’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation moves.

Replying to a question at the “Undaunted: Saving the Idea of India” book release event here on Saturday, he said the NDA government is making a “determined effort” to clean the Ganga river.

“So far, it has not borne results, but at least they are making a determined effort to clean the Ganga. I think five times we have tried to clean the Ganga (but) we had failed. I hope this time they won’t fail. But they are making a determined effort to clean the Ganga, which I am quite proud about,” he said.

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Chidambaram said, “I think their (NDA government’s) National Highway programme has been a success. They are building more kilometers per day than we did. But I think the next government will to build even more as the system is in place.”

He said, “The second thing which they have done good is not to undo some of our programmes, but a build on them. When C. Rangarajan was the Governor (of RBI), he started the zero balance account. They built on that by calling it ‘Jan Dhan’, which is good. I compliment them for that. We started it and opened 34-crore accounts. They have opened another 35-crore accounts.”

“Likewise, we started Aadhaar. They said we will come and scrap Aadhaar. Mercifully they didn’t do that. They built on Aadhaar,” Chidambaram added.

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On the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation issues, he said, “Every government does something which is good, which are beneficial. Even the most incompetent government will do a few things which are good for the country. How can you deny that? But that is not how you evaluate the whole government. You evaluate a government by the largest good to the largest number. That’s why I am angry with this government because they did the largest evil to the largest number by demonetisation. They did the largest evil to the largest and most-productive class of this country – business and trade – by this flawed GST.”


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