Thursday, August 18, 2022

Modi ‘harmful’ for rupee, govt ‘directionless’: Cong

With the rupee almost touching the Rs 80-mark against the US dollar, the Congress on Friday launched a fierce attack on the government alleging that it is directionless and silent on the free fall of the currency as it will affect every Indian.
The party also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he is “harmful for the rupee” and recalled his own words as Gujarat chief minister, when he attacked the UPA government saying “the prestige of the PM is attached to the falling rupee and the lower it falls, the more credibility and dignity of the prime minister is eroded”.
The rupee recovered 8 paise to settle at 79.91 (provisional) against the US currency on Friday, tracking heavy buying in domestic equities and weakness in the greenback overseas.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi recalled Modi’s words used in the past and said he is as much silent today as much as the noise he created in the past when the rupee fell during the UPA.
“’The country is in the throes of despair’, These are your own words, aren’t they, Prime Minister ji? As much noise you used to make at that time, today you are as ‘maun’ (silent) seeing the Rupee depreciating rapidly,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate wondered what the prime minister would say on his own statements now when the Indian currency is falling to new lows.
“The government, as always, seems directionless. Modi is toxic and harmful for the rupee. What is the government doing to address high inflation and it is a vicious cycle,” she alleged at a press conference.
“Before 2014 Mr Modi falsely claimed that a ‘strong PM’ is necessary for the strengthening of the rupee has proven to be most toxic and harmful for the currency. This so-called strong PM made the rupee weakest in history. Rupee has depreciated more than 7 per cent in the last six months. But for how long will the prime minister keep hiding behind the war of corona, Russia and Ukraine,” she asked.
Noting that the value of the rupee was only Rs 58 against a US dollar in 2014, she said in the last eight years it first breached the age of retirement and then went to the “Marg Darshak Mandal” and has now crossed Rs 80 – a fall of Rs 22 against a dollar in eight years.
“Mr Modi think about your eroding dignity and credibility – your words not ours,” she said.
Quoting Modi she said while attacking the UPA government, he had stated that “The currency of a country falls where the govt is immoral and corrupt.”
“I sometimes wonder there is a race between the central govt and the falling rupee. Who will stoop lower? The prestige of the PM is attached to the falling rupee. The lower it falls, the more credibility and dignity of the prime minister is eroded,” Shrinate said quoting Modi.
“These are not our words. These are the colossal Jumlas of candidate Modi pre-2014. I wonder what he has to say on his own statements today,” she asked.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also hit out at the government, saying while the rupee is falling and unemployment rising it is coming out with list of words through which it can be questioned.
“The rupee is falling against the dollar. Employment is declining. The income of people of the country is decreasing. But, the list of words/programs/methods is increasing in the Prime Minister’s Office, through which you can question or protest against all this,” Vadra said in a tweet in Hindi.
Shrinate said, “PM Modi and his ‘army of sycophants’ who used to talk big on the rupee, are now conspicuously silent as the rupee breaches the 80 mark. But this pin drop silence will not be accepted.”
She said the biggest reason for this “free fall of the rupee is the failed economy and unbridled inflation”.
The Congress leader said “thanks to Modi ji’s economic mismanagement and failure to control the ruined Indian economy”, the Indian Rupee has crossed Rs 80 against the US dollar mark.
This is the same rupee that Modi himself used to claim was associated with the Prime Minister’s prestige, she said, adding that the suspicion aroused by the “free fall” of the rupee is whether PM Modi is preparing to hit a century with our currency too just like he has done with petrol.
Claiming that the Congress had strengthened the Rupee in 2013 when it was in power, she said the fall in Rupee will lead to increase in backbreaking inflation and prices of essential commodities will rise further.
Due to the cost of oil, the cost of movement – train, bus fare will increase, she claimed, adding that its direct effect will also be visible on the plate as well. TV, refrigerator, mobile phones will also be costlier due to the falling rupee, she said.
“May be the FM will now claim she doesn’t use the rupee either,” she asked.
Shrinate claimed that from January till today, the RBI has tried to strengthen the rupee by spending about USD 40 billion and asked why has it failed
“Because investors do not have even the slightest faith in the policies of the government,” she said.
Shrinate said the first and immediate step that has to be taken by the government is to accept that the rupee is in a free fall and to wake up and smell the coffee.
“It is a huge-huge breach of the rupee. It is making life tough for the children who study overseas. It is making life tough for our domestic audience, our domestic Industries. It is going to make life tough for every Indian because it is going to raise prices further. So first admit that the rupee is in a free fall. Look for the reasons, why this is happening,” she said.
Alleging that prima facie, high inflation and a “ruined economy” is one of the reasons, she asked what is the government doing to address high inflation.

SourcePTI

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