Narendra Modi government is selling India’s crown jewels, says Rahul Gandhi

Former Congress chief denounces National Monetisation Pipeline.

August 24, 2021 10:21 pm | Updated 10:24 pm IST - New Delhi:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with P. Chidambaram during a press conference in New Delhi on August 24, 2021.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with P. Chidambaram during a press conference in New Delhi on August 24, 2021.

The Narendra Modi government is selling India’s “crown jewels”, built over the past 70 years with public money, to help three-four people, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said about the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference along with former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Mr. Gandhi said the NMP is “designed to create monopolies through privatisation” and will eventually take away jobs from the youth.

He accused the Modi government of “assassinating” the informal sector, impacting job reservations by privatising public sector undertakings (PSU) and warned of “social tension, social anger and finally social explosion that will see a dramatic increase in violence”.

In a separate tweet in Hindi — his first after restoration of his account 10 days ago — Mr. Gandhi described the NMP as the “National Friendship Scheme” in sectors such as rail, road, airport, power, mines, petrol and diesel, stadiums and warehouses.

Also read: National Monetisation Pipeline | Here's the breakup of the govt’s big privatisation push

On Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had unveiled an ambitious plan to monetise ₹6 lakh crore over the next four years by “unlocking” the value of “underutilised” infrastructure projects, including passenger trains, railway stations, airports, ports, natural gas pipelines, power transmission lines, warehousing, National Highways, roads and stadiums, among others.

“The Prime Minister and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) used to say that the Congress Party has done nothing in 70 years. There is a list here of all the assets that the Congress Party helped build. These assets have been built using public money, thousands and thousands of crores of rupees, over the last 70 years. Now, the Prime Minister is in the process of selling the crown jewels of this country,” Mr. Gandhi told reporters.

“The government clearly has mishandled the economy. The government clearly does not know what to do. They have basically destroyed what the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) built and now, as a last resort, they are selling everything that we had helped create. So, to me, this is a huge tragedy, and it is something that every patriotic person, nationalistic person should oppose,” he added.

Mr. Chidambaram said that raising funds cannot be the sole aim for selling assets built over 70 years.

“You don’t embark upon this exercise without consultation with stakeholders. Have the Railway unions and employees been consulted? Have the port workers been consulted? Have those employed in warehouses been consulted? Have farmers been consulted? This is all hatched in secrecy in this wonderful organisation call NITI Aayog,” the former Finance Minister said.

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