The Congress party wants a post-liberalisation re-set of the country’s economy. "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. After 30 years, it is felt that taking into account global and domestic developments, it may be necessary to contemplate a re-set of the economic policies," said P Chidambaram, senior Congress leader who is heading the panel of Economy formed for this Chintan Shivir.
While talking to the media on Saturday at Udaipur Chintan Shivir of the party Chidambaram said, "A re-set of economic policies must also address the questions of rising inequalities; extreme poverty among the bottom 10 per cent of the population; India’s rank in the Global Hunger Index 2021 (101 out of 116 countries); and evidence of widespread nutritional deficiency among women and children."
On the question of whether the party is stapping back on liberalization, he said that we are not stepping back. We are talking to take it further.
He said that the state of the Indian economy is a cause of extreme concern. A slower rate of growth has been the hallmark of the present government in the last 8 years. The post-pandemic recovery has been indifferent and halting. The growth estimates for 2022-23 have been lowered from time to time in the last five months.
But at the same time, Chidambaram admits that the Congress party failed in communicating the poor state of the economy to people considering the election results of various states and said that we should have communicated more sharply. "People are feeling pinches of inflation and unemployment and we feel that it will turn into a big protest soon," said Chidambaram. He added that at the time of India Shining Campign in 20014 we were able to communicate our point of view and now this is the second round of India Shining Caimpgen and we are hopeful that people consider our economic proposals.
Accessing the central government for fueling inflation, he said that Inflation has risen to unacceptable levels, and threatens to rise further. WPI inflation is at 14.55 per cent and CPI inflation is at 7.79 per cent. The government is fueling the rise of inflation by its wrong policies, especially through high taxes on petrol and diesel, high administered prices and high GST tax rates.
Although on the question of whether Congress agrees to put petrol and diesel under GST, he said that there is a complete break down of trust on not only non-Congress state governments but even Bjp ruled state are not happy and so we don’t think it will happen in the regime of this government.
On Central-State fiscal relations, he said, "The time is ripe for a comprehensive review of Centre-States fiscal relations. The consequences of the poorly-drafted and unfairly-implemented GST laws brought in by the Modi government in 2017 are there for everyone to see. The States’ fiscal position is fragile as never before and needs urgent remedial measures."
He also demands a 3-year extension of the GST compensation period for states.