Govt on a 'sell India' mission, hiding real picture of economy: TMC MP

Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray on Tuesday accused the government of hiding the real picture of the economy and criticised its disinvestment policy, saying it is on a mission of "beecho (sell) India".

The government is selling PSUs along with LIC, which are properties of the people and steps are being taken without inviting any suggestions from policy makers and employees unions, he said while participating in the debate on Motion of Thanks on President's address in Rajya Sabha.

Ray said his party has moved amendments seeking changes in the President's address to Parliament as it does not give the real picture of the economy.

"President's speech has not mentioned about the growth of the economy. It is the first time in the history that RBI has changed the growth forecast three times," he said.

According to him, in February it was 7.4 per cent for the previous fiscal, then it was changed to 7.2 per cent in April. It was further brought down to 6.4 per cent in November and finally 5 per cent in December.

"This has never happened in the history of RBI," said Ray adding that even IMF and World Bank have downgraded the growth rate.

Citing a report from OXFAM, Ray said that the combined total wealth of 63 Indian billionaires is higher than the total Union Budget of India for the fiscal year 2018-19 which was at Rs 24,42,200 crore.

Moreover, India's richest one per cent hold more than four-times the wealth held by 953 million people who make up for the bottom 70 per cent of the country's population, he said adding that inequality has grown in the country.

"The President has not said anything about this," he said adding that NSSO, the body, which use to come with datas, has been "silenced" the government.

Over the government's disinvest policy, Ray said that it is "selling everything".

Ray claimed that the LIC, which the government wants to list in the market, has lost Rs 30,000 crore just because it invested in loss making companies as Deccan Chronicle, Essar Shipping, Gammon, IL&FS, Bhushan Power, Videocon Industries, Alok Industries, Amtrak Auto, ABG Shipyard, Unitech, GVK Power and GTL etc.

"This was public's money," he said, adding that the money from insurance business fund and pension fund was also invested in these firm.

He alleged this government is on the mission of "beecho India" (sell).

Terming LIC as a "golden goose" of the nation, Ray said that steps are being taken without inviting suggestions from policy makers.

He alleged that the government is using the name of Mahatma Gandhi to hide its "camouflaged agenda of religious persecution and division" through CAA and NRC.

"They are using the name of Gandhiji, just to mask it.... A minister of this government is publicly asking to shoot the people," he alleged.

The government is using tools such as "section 144, lathi charge and tear gas" on the people protesting against it with Azadi slogans. This is to suppress the democratic protest without understating the meaning of Azadi.

"Preamble of the Constitution is being violated every day," he said adding, "You are dividing the country."

While participating in the debate, A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) said the budget is focused on a policy to protect agriculture and farming community.

He added that 11 medical colleges were approved in 2019 by the central government for Tamil Nadu which would have a medical colleges almost in every district.

Navaneethakrishnan highlighted the issue of exemption to oil and gas firms from environmental clearance in hydrocarbon exploration in Cauvery delta saying that it may impact the ecological balance.

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