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Rahul says Modi’s ‘Make in India’ is ‘Take in India’

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New Delhi: On Sunday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi stated that the fight against the controversial land bill has not ended yet. However, it has shifted to the state assemblies, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign was actually “Take in India” as it has “no place for farmers and labourers”.

Addressing a well-attended rally at the Ramlila Maidan here to mark the party’s “victory” over the government on the land bill, Gandhi said Modi only listens to “people in suit-boot”.

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He said Modi does not talk to farmers or the youth about their problems but only to bureaucrats and businessmen.

Gandhi referred to the working conditions at a ship-breaking facility in Alang in Gujarat — Modi’s native state — and said labourers get insulted as their “chemical-ridden bodies” are not able to burn properly after their death.

He said labourers get killed under wreckage of ships and also due to radioactive material in ships.

“When the bodies are burnt, there is so much chemical that the bodies do not burn completely. This is how a labourer is insulted,” Gandhi said.

He said the Modi government brought ordinances to change the land Act of the United Progressive Alliance government but had to finally relent and allow the ordinance to lapse.

“But I know Modi-ji. What he really thinks, he does not say. On one hand, he said the bill of the Congress will not end, on the other he told his chief ministers that we (Congress) could not do it at the Centre.

“Try to do it (make changes to the land law passed in 2013) at the state-level. The battle has not ended. It is in the state assemblies. The Congress has to fight it in every state,” he said.

Stating that the “victory” over the land bill was first of the farmers and later of the Congress, he promised to take on the government over issues concerning labourers.

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Gandhi recounted that a farmer had told him that the land he tilled was like his own mother.

“He told me Narendra Modi-ji is not just snatching our land but our mother. He wants to snatch our mother and give it to someone else, please fight for us. That day I realised it is a fight (not only) for your land but for heart, prestige, future of farmers. The Congress stood for you,” he said.

The Congress leader said Modi’s ‘Make in India’ does not have “place for labourers, farmers but for only those whom he meets and talks”.

“We don’t want such India. This is not ‘Make in India’. This is Modi’s ‘take in India’,” Gandhi said.

“On the one hand, they want to snatch your land, on the other your rights. In the end, you will get nothing. His two-three chosen friends will get it in the end. We will fight your battle. And you see what we did for your land, we will do it for labourers. We will do it for MSP (minimum support price), we will do it for problems of sugarcane farmers. You build India. We will never forget you,” Gandhi added.

He said Modi wants farmers to be weak, and they were facing problems in every state.

“I want to tell the prime minister, try to understand their problem. Help them. If you do not, you will see the Congress,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi said Mahatma Gandhi wore suit-boot but later chose a life of simplicity as he mingled with the people and had only a few belongings in the end.

“Look at Modi-ji. He wears new clothes every day. He wears suit worth Rs.15 lakh. The more he goes farther from you, the better clothes he wears,” Gandhi said.

(IANS)

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Fall Of The Currency And Increase In Oil Prices: India ‘s Turmoil

The falling rupee has given a boost to some of India’s most lucrative exports, such as software services and pharmaceuticals, which add up to billions of dollars.

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India
Rajesh Kumar, left, shares a ride to work with another employee, Dilip Swain, right, as higher petrol prices in India begin to be felt in people's pocketbooks.VOA

The fall of the currency of India to record lows and rising global oil prices have raised worries that the world’s fastest growing economy faces headwinds that could hurt the fortunes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in next year’s general elections.

From people filling fuel at gas stations to thousands of students heading out to study overseas, the impact of the slumping rupee is sparking discontent.

Having plunged by about 12 percent against the dollar this year, the rupee is one of Asia’s worst faring currencies, and as in other countries, the slide has accelerated since the crash of the Turkish lira.

“The reasons are global. We must bear in mind that in last few months, dollar has strengthened against almost every currency,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently as he tried to send out reassuring signals that India’s economy is on track.

India
The rupee has plunged by about 12 percent this year raising fears of spiraling inflation. VOA

The rupee’s sharp depreciation comes at a time when the economy had recovered from a slowdown and surged to a two-year high in the quarter that ended in June. Forecasts put growth for this year at 7.5 percent.

Economy will slow

But economists warn this momentum will be difficult to sustain as the tumbling rupee, along with rising crude oil prices, takes a toll on growth. India, the world’s third largest oil importer, gets almost 80 percent of its fuel needs overseas.

“The government needs to mellow down on growth aspirations,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy, economist with the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. “The growth needs to come down to a little less than 7 percent.”

Even as the government faces the prospect of a slowing economy, it is under pressure to lower taxes on gas and diesel to bring down the sharp rise in prices. Fuel is one of the most heavily taxed items in India, with rates as high as nearly 50 percent. Prices vary from state to state, but they have gone up by about 14 percent this year.

Hoping to cash in on the growing disaffection over the surge in fuel prices and the sliding rupee, opposition parties led nationwide protests that shutdown offices and schools in several cities this week.

India
Discontent with spiraling fuel prices poses a challenge to Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of general elections next year. VOA

The government dismissed the protests, saying that although people faced momentary difficulties, they understood they were because of factors beyond its control.

Political analysts are not so sure, pointing out that fuel prices are a politically sensitive issue in India and usually result in a spike in inflation.

“Anger is rising, there is resentment,” said Satish Misra at the Observer Research Foundation, warning the ruling party will face a backlash “Obviously that is going to have a negative impact on the electoral fortunes of the Bharatiya Janata Party, there is no doubt about that.”

Warnings from economists

Among those who are upset with the high fuel prices is Rajesh Kumar, who commutes 30 kilometers to the advertising agency where he works. Hit by the higher prices that eat into his income, he has started sharing the ride with another employee.

India
Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

“I have given up the idea of buying another car,” he said despondently. “I will not be able to afford the cost of running it.”

Economists however have warned the government against giving in to populist pressures ahead of a series of state polls later this year and general elections around April next year. They say lowering taxes on fuel or taking measures to prop up the currency will strain the country’s finances and hurt the economy in the long run.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“One needs to be more careful and vigilant,” Bhanumurthy said. “It is easy for India to stay with low growth than experiencing the high deficit.”

But there is also some good news for the Indian economy. The falling rupee has given a boost to some of India’s most lucrative exports, such as software services and pharmaceuticals, which add up to billions of dollars. (VOA)