Thursday, March 30, 2023

Cong calls for reset of economic policies

Expressing “extreme concern” over the state of the economy, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram on Saturday called for a recalibration of the economic policies while taking into account global and domestic developments.
Addressing a press conference here, he also called for a comprehensive review of fiscal relations between the Centre and the states and demanded that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation to states be extended for a period of three years.
Chidambaram, who is the convener of the group deliberating on economic issues at the Congress’ three-day ‘Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir’, said the government has completely failed on the economic front and is clueless on how to set things right. The government is fuelling inflation and unemployment and the fiscal position of states is fragile, he charged, stressing the need to undertake urgent remedial measures.
The Congress leader said the external situation has added to the pressures on the economy. “The government appears clueless on the ways to deal with these developments,” he said.
Chidambaram dismissed the government’s claim that the Ukraine-Russia war has fuelled inflation, saying the rise in oil prices cannot be blamed for the high inflation as a similar situation prevailed even before the war.
“The Ukraine war has added to our problems, but we should have taken pre-emptive action. I don’t think simple lame excuses like the Ukraine war can explain why there is high CPI and WPI inflation,” he said. Chidambaram said the Congress will plead for sensible economic policies.
The former finance minister said a Congress-led government ushered in a new era of liberalisation in 1991. The country has reaped enormous benefits in terms of wealth creation, new businesses and new entrepreneurs, a huge middle class, millions of jobs, exports and lifting 27 crore people out of poverty during a 10-year period.
Chidambaram said a slower rate of growth has been the “hallmark” of the present government in the last eight years, and the post-pandemic recovery has been “indifferent and halting”.
Cong set to provide 50 pc representation to SCs, STs, OBCs minorities at all levels in organisation: The Congress is set to provide 50 per cent representation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs and minorities at all levels in the party organisation as part of its social engineering efforts to win back the confidence of the weaker sections.
In a change in stance on “quota within quota” in the women’s reservation bill, the party is likely to resolve to demand that from out of the reservation for women in Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies, there should be proportionate reservation for SC, ST and OBC women.
Addressing a media briefing on the deliberations of the panel on social justice and empowerment formed by party chief Sonia Gandhi to lead discussions on this issue at the Congress’ three-day ‘Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir’ here, senior leader and Union minister Salman Khurshid said establishing a social justice advisory council to the Congress president has also been recommended by the panel.
There will be an attached department that will collect data for “social engineering” and will make it available for Pradesh Congress Committees (PCCs) and other party units, said Khurshid, who is the convenor of the panel on social justice and empowerment.
Social justice is a principled commitment but the basic instrument for that is “social engineering”, he said.


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