The Congress on Tuesday attacked the Centre over the depreciating value of the rupee against the dollar and said the only request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to stop the rupee from scoring a century.
The rupee appreciated 37 paise to 81.30 against the US dollar in early trade on Tuesday while consolidating in a narrow range and settling 9 paise higher at 81.58 (provisional) against the US dollar on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Congress Spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said for the first time in history, the rupee is racing fast towards 82 against the dollar.
"With Modi Ji's blessings, the rupee has become the weakest in history and he who claimed (before coming to power) the fall in the value of rupee is directly linked to falling in Prime Minister's credibility must realise his own credibility is in a bottomless pit," Shrinate said.
Exactly a year ago, in September 2021, the value of the rupee was 73 against USD 1, which has now increased to 81.63. Simply put, the Prime Minister's reputation has fallen by more than 12 per cent in 12 months, she claimed.
"On May 26, 2014, when Modi Ji took oath as Prime Minister for the first time, the value of rupee against USD 1 was 58.62 - which means the value of the rupee has crashed by 41.5 per cent during Modi Ji's tenure," she said.
India's foreign exchange reserves, which were at USD 642 billion in September 2021, now stand at USD 545.65 billion, Shrinate said.
Just a month ago, the country's foreign exchange reserves were USD 571 billion. It has now fallen to USD 545 billion, she said, adding it is a decline of USD 26 billion in a month.
"But the question is, how does the weakening of the rupee affect you and your wallet? The weakening of the rupee means rising cost of imports. If a good comes from abroad for USD 1, then in September 2021, we had to pay Rs 73, for which now we will pay Rs 82, that's Rs 9 more," Shrinate pointed out.
When a good comes to the country at a higher price -- Rs 9 more now -- then people will also have to pay more, she said.
"For example, India imports 80 per cent of crude oil. Now it will be imported by India at a higher price. If oil is expensive, inflation will increase, after all, if most of the goods -- fruits, vegetables, food grains, and other things -- are transported by diesel trucks, then its cost will increase. Because of this, things will be expensive," she said.
When inflation increases, RBI will increase the interest rate to control it, she argued, adding that in such a situation, the EMI of the loan will increase and people will have to pay more money.
"Due to the failed policies of the Modi government, the confidence of investors has been shaken in the market. A completely disrupted cycle of consumption, investment, and employment saddled with high prices is weakening the Rupee further. That’s why foreign funds are fleeing India," she alleged.
Shrinate said the "tools of mass distraction" are being used to shift focus from the real issue.
"It is repeatedly pointed out that the rupee fell in 2013 too. Yes it did, but the reality is that in 2013, the international reasons were even more frightening - Taper tantrum made the rupee weak – and then the Congress government strengthened the rupee," she said.
Under the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and then RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan together took care of the rupee.
"Not only did we bring it back to 58/1 USD within four months, but within one year we increased the GDP growth from 5.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent. Also, USD 35 billion worth of foreign funds were pulled back into India versus the USD 12 that had fled," Shrinate said.
"Before becoming Prime Minister, Modi Ji used to say that the credibility of the Prime Minister of the country falls with the rupee. When he became PM, he would bring the rupee to 40 against a dollar. The weakening of the rupee is a sign of weakening of you and the country," she said. "The only request to Modi Ji is to stop the Rupee from scoring a century."
On Monday, the rupee plunged 58 paise to close at an all-time low of 81.67 against the dollar.