NEW DELHI: India has been hit by a terrible economic crisis, a pandemic of huge proportions and, now, by a full-blown crisis on the borders with China and much of each crisis is attributable to the mismanagement of the BJP-led NDA government and the wrong policies pursued by it, said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi Tuesday.
She spoke at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet called by the party to discuss the situation at the border with China and the rising number of Covid-19 cases in India.
"The cumulative effect is widespread misery, fear, and danger to the security and territorial integrity of the country," she said.
The party chief said we have a full-blown crisis on the LAC with China and that the undeniable fact is that since April-May, 2020 till date, Chinese troops have committed brazen transgressions into our territory in Pangong Tso Lake area and the Galwan Valley, Ladakh. True to its character, the government is in denial.
"The intrusion was detected and reported on May 5, 2020. Instead of a resolution, the situation deteriorated rapidly and there were violent clashes on June 15-16. Twenty Indian soldiers were martyred, 85 injured, and 10 went ‘missing’ until they were returned. The Prime Minister was called out when he announced that no one had intruded into Indian territory in Ladakh. On matters of national security and territorial integrity, the nation has always stood together and this time too, there is no second opinion," she said.
Emphasizing that there is a growing feeling among the people that the government has gravely mishandled the situation, Gandhi said: "The future is yet to unfold but we hope that mature diplomacy and decisive leadership will inform the government’s actions in protecting our territorial integrity. We urge upon the government that peace, calm, and the restoration of the status quo ante along the LAC be the only guiding principles in our national interest. We will continue to closely watch the situation."
On the economic crisis due to pandemic, she said the Modi government refuses to listen to good advice and need of the hour is a massive fiscal stimulus, putting money directly in the hands of the poor, protecting and nurturing the MSMEs, and stimulating demand.
"Instead, the government announced a hollow financial package that had a fiscal component of less than 1 per cent of GDP. The government has added insult to injury by mercilessly raising petrol and diesel prices for 17 consecutive days, at a time when world prices of crude have fallen. The result is that a sliding economy is now hurtling toward a recession for the first time in 42 years," she added.
The party chief said that there will be high unemployment, falling incomes and wages, and lower investment and recovery is likely to take a long time, and that too only if the government corrects its course and adopts sound economic policies.
"The pandemic hit India in February. The Congress offered its total support to the government and supported Lockdown 1.0. Within weeks, it was apparent that the government was totally unprepared to manage the fallout of a lockdown. The result was the greatest humanitarian crisis witnessed since 1947-48. Millions of migrant (guest) workers, daily wage earners and self-employed were devastated. 130 million jobs are estimated to have been lost. Crores of MSMEs have been shut, perhaps forever," she told the CWC.
Criticising Prime Minister for giving assurance that everything is in control, she said the pandemic continues to rage.
"The grave deficiencies in the health infrastructure have been exposed. The promised ‘peak’ is nowhere in sight. The Centre has passed the buck to the state governments but given them zero extra finances. Actually, the people have been left to protect themselves as best as possible. The mismanagement of the pandemic will be recorded as one of the most disastrous failures of the Modi government. I wish to thank all our party’s workers who in different states went out at their own risk to offer help and support to the migrant and other affected people," she added.