Demand of JPC probe into Adani issue figures in Congs economic resolution


The Congress is against “government-facilitated” private monopolies and not any person rising from a humble background to become the worlds second richest, the party said on Saturday as it reiterated its demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the Adani-Hindenburg issue.

The Congress in its economic resolution, which was adopted on the second day of its three-day 85th plenary session here, said it was against such monopolies as they were against public interest. More particularly, the party is against individuals accused of corruption and having objectionable relations with tax havens monopolising the countrys national resources, it said.

Addressing the session here before submitting the resolution for its passage, senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram said going forward the partys economic policies will create work and wealth but will ensure that it is equitably distributed so that the bottom 50 per cent of the population get most of the benefits for the next 10-20 years. Chidambaram said the message that the party must convey to India is that it was the Congress in 1991 that ushered in an open, competitive and liberal economy.

The seeds of a liberalised economy was sown under the prime ministership of Rajiv Gandhi with the party manifestos of both 1989 and 1991 paving the way for it. “Unfortunately, Rajiv Gandhi passed away and then when we came back to power under P V Narasimha Rao, Manmohan Singh as finance minister took upon himself the bold action of opening up Indias economy,” Chidambaram said. Talking about the impact of libertalisation, Chidambaram said that according to the UNDP, 27 crore people were lifted out of poverty. “Between 1991-2001 we doubled the economy and and we again doubled it again in the 10 years (of government from 2004-14). All champions of industry were created in the years of Congress rule,” he said. “We created a middle classWe created enormous wealth but this is the lesson we have to learn — the wealth accrued to a small section of the people. There is no harm in admitting that. The reality is that the bottom 50 per cent of India has only 13 per cent of national income and the bottom 50 per cent has only three per cent of the nations wealth,” Chidambaram said. “While we created wealth, the wealth went to the top 50 per cent of India and did not go to the bottom 50 per cent but that is the history of all countries which move from a low stage of development to an advanced stage of development, there is no shame in that. That is a historical fact, we can admit it,” the former finance minister said. On the way forward, Chidambaram said just as the Congress embraced an open, competitive and liberal economy, the time has come for the party to declare boldly and in a forthright manner that its next task is to lift the bottom 50 per cent of India out of poverty. Noting that 22.4 crore people of India are in abject poverty, Chidambaram said there is great wealth on one side, while on the other, there is also abject poverty. The bottom 50 per cent can only be lifted out of poverty and brought into middle class and “ours becoming a middle income economy if we reset our economic policy”, he said. “The first set of economic policy created conditions for faster growth, the second set that we must begin today must clearly aim at distributing wealth, ensuring that not only wealth is created but work is created and equality and equity are created.

“We must not flinch we must not be afraid to openly declare that from this day onwards the Congress economic policies will create work, create wealth but will ensure that it is equitably distributed so that the bottom 50 per cent of the population gets most of the benefits in the next 10-20 years,” Chidambaram said. Attacking the BJP, he said the party will not do it as it believes in cronyism, concentrating wealth in a few hands, and creating monopolies.

“We must determine that this concentration would be broken, cronyism will be broken.  We must get rid of cronyism, monopolies and concentration of wealth,” he said. The party, in its economic resolution, promised that it would prevent what it alleged was “loot of public exchequer to fund crony capitalists and establishment of private monopolies”. “With the Adani Maha Mega Scam unfolding in the last few weeks, we cannot allow the government to run away from its responsibility. At the instance of the government, Rahul Gandhis questions and large portions of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharges speech have been arbitrarily expunged from the Parliamentary record, but the people of India are watching what is happening in Parliament,” the economic resolution said.

“We want to know why this government is diminishing the value of parliamentary debates and why the PM (prime minister) is not answering pertinent questions in Parliament,” the Congress said. To prevent “open loot” of the public exchequer to fund crony capitalists and to regain the investors confidence, particularly retail investors, the party demands a complete and transparent investigation of this “scam” by a joint parliamentary committee, the economic resolution said. The Congress and the people of the country are determined to unearth the truth about how one group with “doubtful credentials” and alleged links with tax haven-operated offshore shell companies has monopolized critical assets of India, it said. “Yet, all the government agencies are either missing in action or facilitating the group. We want to know why the prime minister facilitated a crony capitalist to become the second richest person in the world and why he is silent on the Hindenburg expose?” the party asked. The Congress asserted that it is not against any person rising from a humble place to become the second richest person in the world, but is certainly against “government-facilitated private monopolies”, the resolution said.

“Such monopolies are against the public interest. More particularly, we are against individuals accused of fraud, corruption, and having objectionable relations with tax havens monopolising our national resources,” the Congress said. The party also reiterated its promise in the Congress Manifesto 2019 that disinvestment will be confined to chronic loss-making public sector units (PSUs), and non-core and non-strategic PSUs. “Even while disinvesting, provisions must be built in to protect, as far as possible, reservations for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Besides, care must be taken to ensure that disinvestment does not create a monopoly or a duopoly. Further, we promise that the funds generated through disinvestment will be parked in a fund dedicated to make investments in improving the quality of education, healthcare, and research and development (R&D),” the party said. The resolution alleged that the nation has suffered greatly in the nine years of the Modi government owing to its “incompetent” management of the economy.

“A growing unemployment and inequality, rising inflation, depreciating Rupee, crippling taxation, anti-farmer policies and laws, over-regulation and vindictive actions against businesses, crony capitalism, and a polarized society have been the hallmark of the Modi government,” it alleged.

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