Davangere (Karnataka): Blaming the note ban and a flawed GST for the country’s economic slowdown, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said jobs were created by small and medium companies and not by the country’s top industrial tycoons.
“The Congress believes that jobs are created by small and medium companies and not by top 15-20 firms run by tycoons, who have direct access to the country’s Finance Minister and Prime Minister,” he said at an interaction with traders and small businessmen in Karnataka’s textile town here.
Gandhi is on a two-day visit to the southern state for participating in the fifth leg of the party’s ‘Jan Ashirvada Yatra’ to seek the people’s blessings for victory in the May 12 Karnataka assembly election.
Claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a very simplistic vision of the world, he said the former thought small traders were bad while income tax officials good.
Accusing the BJP-led NDA government of using the Goods and Services Tax (GST) scheme as an instrument of oppression than of freedom, Gandhi said the new indirect tax regime was envisioned to have one slab, exempting goods and services used by the poor from it.
“But the GST we have is completely different from what was envisioned.”
Regretting that the Modi government viewed the informal sector as an evil, he said the country should utilise its strength, as the bulk of business in India was informal.
“Digital economy can harm or help the country, depending on how policies to utilise it are framed,” he told the traders at the meeting.
Noting that the people’s voices were not being heard by the present-day political system, Gandhi said top companies, however, had open access to it to change or tweak the law to suit their interests.
“When the Congress returns to power after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, I assure you that the people will have access to the system again, because we believe policies should be made in consultation with the people and not with an individual,” he reiterated.
Recollecting that former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan had advised Modi not to demonetise higher currency notes, Gandhi said the Finance Minister, Chief Economic Adviser and the Union Cabinet were unaware of the sudden move to ban the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.