Modi govt for the rich; budget should focus on reducing widening income gap: Cong
New Delhi: Citing a report that stated the incomes of the rich increased and that of the poor declined during the pandemic, the Congress on Monday charged the Modi government is for the rich and said the union budget should focus on bridging the widening income divide.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi alleged that while the entire country suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the poor and the middle class faced more sufferings due to the “economic epidemic” of the Modi government as the gap between the rich and the poor widened further.
“The entire country suffered during the Covid pandemic, but the poor and the middle class are also victims of the ‘economic epidemic’ of the Modi government. The credit for digging this widening gap between the rich and the poor goes to the central government,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
He cited a news report that claimed that incomes of the poor reduced by 53 per cent while that of the rich increased during Covid times.
The report showed the widening disparity in annual household incomes, with the poorest 20 per cent of the population witnessing 52.6 per cent decline in their incomes and the lower middle class comprising 20 per cent facing a decline of 32.4 per cent in their income, while the richest (20 per cent) saw 39 per cent rise in their incomes.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate told reporters that the Modi government is only working for the benefit of the rich and the incomes of 20 per cent poor population have halved and the income of 60 per cent of the population has reduced to its lowest level during the Modi regime.
“We categorically and assertively insist that the union budget must focus on bridging this divide…. The union budget should only focus on increasing money in the hands of the poor. The union budget should pay attention on how urban poverty is going up many fold and rural poverty in comparison has gone up,” she said.
Shrinate also demanded that the government institute a gross economic mismanagement index to know how badly mismanaged the Indian economy is.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the “Modi government is only for the rich! It is now before us – ‘The poor is poorer and ‘Hum do, hamare do’ is reaping silver.”
“Hit the poor-middle class, Modi government is the government of the rich,” Surjewala alleged.
Shrinate said the government is not even admitting the state of the economy and the increase in poverty.
She said first an Oxfam report and now the ICE-360 survey, which has been done by the People’s Research on India’s consumer economy, have very categorically stated how the divide and the deep fissures between the rich and the poor in this country are only widening.
According to this report, she said, for more than 15 crore households’ incomes have dipped by 53 per cent as compare to 2016 and the incomes for lower middle income group have dipped by 32 per cent, and for the middle income group by nine per cent.
So on a broad level 60 per cent of India is today earning less than what it was earning five years back and one survey after the other are showing this. “So there has got to be some truth in how the income divide is widening,” she claimed.
“It is also important to point out here that the 20 per cent for whom income has halved under the Modi government, the same population saw their income surge by 183 per cent under the UPA rule from 2005 to 2015, when we lifted 27 crore people out of poverty.
“The richest 20 per cent are richer by 39 per cent…so there really is some deep trouble in the economy, because the suit-boot sarkar, the people who only make policies for the rich and for the well heeled are only focusing on their wealth,” the Congress spokesperson alleged.
She said the government of the day, which is about to present the Union Budget, should accept that there is a huge income disparity and there is an increasing income inequality in this country “and if you are not going to bridge that, we are going to face very-very grave consequences”.
“This will have repercussions on social equity, this will have repercussions on crime, this will have repercussions of all kind, this will have repercussions on a demographic dividend, which you have turned into a demographic disaster,” the Congress leader alleged.