The fall of the rupee to unprecedented levels led to an aggressive Congress attack on the government, exactly five years after it faced almost a similar set of accusations from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed the fall as a “vote of no confidence” for the Prime Minister and posted on Twitter a video in which Modi attacked the previous United Progressive Alliance government over the crash of the Indian rupee in 2013.
The BJP did not respond to the charge. But the government claimed the rupee fall was a temporary phenomenon and had been caused by external factors. Subhash Chandra Garg, secretary of the department of economic affairs, said, “Our assessment is that rupee fall is a temporary phenomenon. RBI intervention won’t help much to arrest rupee fall as decline due to global factors.”
He also assured that RBI has sufficient forex reserves. “India added $44 billion in reserves last year, spent only about $23 billion so far in rupee intervention. Rupee hasn’t depreciated much in percentage terms as compared to dollar,” Garg said.
The Congress, however, kept up the attack on the PM. “Falling rupee and failing economy is the Independence Day gift of Modi to the nation,” said party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
“Rupee is now trading at a historic low. What the Congress party could not achieve in 60 years, Modi and his careless economic policies have achieved in 52 months,” he told reporters.
A falling rupee, he said, is the stark symbol of the “abject failures and economic mismanagement” of the government, alleging that “Modinomics has wreaked havoc” with India’s economy and left it in dire straits.
Back in 2013, the BJP had hurled similar charges against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. Modi said the country was disappointed at the falling rupee, and if it kept falling, other countries would ‘take advantage’ of India.
The Congress had then maintained that decisions taken to counter the impact of the 2008 economic meltdown were among the reasons for depreciation of the Indian currency. This was the period when the government had announced stimulus to ward off fallout from the collapse of western economies.
“It brought us growth, it stabilised the economy, we staved off the very serious consequences of the 2008 collapse of the US economy. But it cost us in terms of fiscal deficit and current account deficit,” the then finance minister P Chidambaram had said.
The fact that tables have turned promoted a BJP functionary to say, only half in jest, “It proves the old adage. Where you stand depends on where you sit.”
First Published: Aug 14, 2018 23:00 IST
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