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Country looking at an economic crisis: Congress

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New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday slammed the Narendra Modi government over its economic performance in the past 20 months, saying demand was not picking, merchandise exports have fallen for 13 consecutive months and the country was looking at an “economic crisis”.

Congress spokesperson Deepender Hooda said the Sensex was testing the 24,000 mark and was at a lower level compared to its level when Modi took over as prime minister in May 2014.

“At the end of the BJP’s one-third term in office, the nation is looking at a full-blown economic crisis and every day, we get more data that indicates that we are struggling to find the bottom of bad news,” he said.

Hooda said the RBI’s financial stability report points out that demand in the Indian economy was not picking up.

“India is a demand driven economy. Falling demand spells trouble for the overall economy,” he said.

Hooda said there seems to be very little growth in private investment and there were pointers to a slow down in the economy in 2016.

“Exports have been falling for the last 13 months and there is little government intervention. The rupee is close to Rs.68 per dollar, a significant drop since the Modi government came to office,” Hooda said.

He said the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has contracted by 3.2 percent in November from a year earlier.

“The data clearly indicates that the ‘Make in India’ campaign has remained a slogan,” he said.

Hooda said foreign investors have taken out more than Rs. 25,000 crore from the stock market in the financial year so far.

“FII outflow from the markets in 2016 stands nearly $700 million and is getting worse by the day,” he said.

Hooda asked the government why petrol prices have come down “by just 17 percent when Indian crude basket is down by 73 percent”.

He also asked the government if it had an action plan to check inflation.

Referring to “rural distress”, he said latest data from the Labour Bureau shows that rural wages have registered an average annual growth of 3.8 percent this year, “the lowest since July 2005”.

He also referred to the rural employment guarantee act and said that average days of employment per household and the number of households which completed 100 days of employment had come down under the rule of the National Democratic Alliance government. (IANS)

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Democrats in Congress Ready To Take Control

This is about us lifting up the voices, the stories, the struggles, the innovation and the ideas of the people that we represent.

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Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, speaks at a small rally outside an orientation meeting for incoming members of Congress at Harvard University. Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley, right, and Rep.-elect Lori Trahan, second from right, look on in Cambridge, Mass. VOA

Incoming members of the Democratic Party’s new U.S. House majority say they’re ready to turn the energy of their campaigns into real power on Capitol Hill.

Rep.-elects Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and a handful of other liberal-leaning incoming Democrats used an orientation event for freshman lawmakers Tuesday sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics to stake out some of their top issues – from gun violence to health care to climate change.

They say they’re ready to leverage their victories at the ballot box into victories in Congress — an institution that prizes seniority.

Pressley said power is about more than just how many terms a lawmaker has served.

“It’s a confluence of things. It’s about the committees that we’ll be appointed to. It’s about the values- and issues-based caucuses that we’ll serve on. And it’s about us simply leveraging the platform that we have available to us as well as our social media networks,” Pressley said.

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Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar reacts after appearing at her midterm election night party in Minneapolis, Minnesota. VOA

Pressley won election to the House by beating a fellow Democrat – longtime U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano – in a September primary.

Ocasio-Cortez said like-minded incoming Democratic members of the House have the numbers needed to press their case for change.

“We have a magic number in the House … and it’s 218,” she said. “Two hundred and eighteen is the magic number to get things done and how many member Democratic freshmen do we have? Sixty Three. Sixty-three of that 218 is brand new and 35 of that 63 have rejected corporate PAC money, 35 of that 63 is not funded by opioid companies, not funded by the NRA, not funded by for-profit health care, not funded by fossil fuels. Thirty-five are independent of the interests of corporate influence.”

Like Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez also won election by defeating another veteran Democratic incumbent – Joe Crowley – in New York’s June primary.

Ocasio-Cortez said Democrats have to fight back against an opposition she said “is predicated on us being turned against each other, of us accepting the idea of zero-sum thinking that one community’s gain must be another community’s loss.”

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Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat-New York, talks during a news conference with members of the Progressive Caucus in Washington. VOA

“We know that all of our issues are tied and are the same,” she added. “There is no health care justice without gun violence reform.”

Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley have both pledged to support Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker after Democrats take control of the House in January.

Other new and incoming Democratic House members who spoke at Tuesday’s event include Lori Trahan of Massachusetts, Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania and Andy Levin of Michigan.

Pressley said the timing of Tuesday’s press conference wasn’t meant as a rejection of the Harvard orientation event.

Also Read: Political Ads Under Scrutiny By Google Before The EU Elections

On its website the school says the sessions are designed to help incoming House members “forge bipartisan relationships and learn practical skills of lawmaking just one month prior to taking the oath of office.” Since 1972, the program has hosted nearly 700 current and new member of Congress.

“There is nothing adversarial,” Pressley said. “This is about us lifting up the voices, the stories, the struggles, the innovation and the ideas of the people that we represent. So I think it’s a good thing.” (VOA)