New Delhi, Aug 31 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused the Modi government of destroying the informal sector of the country's economy and trying to enslave it.
He alleged that the government wants to break this sector and called upon the entire country to unite and fight against it.
The BJP, however, mocked him saying he should release a video about the 'G-23', a reference to the 23 dissenters who wrote to the Congress chief seeking the party's overhaul.
Gandhi cited demonetisation, 'wrong' GST and the lockdown as three examples of the government's attempt to destroy the informal sector, that provides 90 per cent jobs to people.
'The BJP government has attacked the informal structure. There is an attempt to turn you into a slave,' he charged.
'The BJP government has been attacking the informal sector over the past 6 years. I am giving you three massive examples right now -- Demonetisation, wrong GST and Lockdown,' he said in a new video series on the economy. He further said, 'Don't think the lockdown was unplanned. Don't think it was done at the last minute. The aim of these three decisions was to destroy our informal sector'.
Gandhi also attacked the Prime Minister and accused him of indulging in media management and marketing.
'The PM needs the media and marketing to run the government. This media management and marketing is done by 15-20 people,' he alleged.
Asked about Rahul Gandhi's attack on the Modi government over the economy, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra mocked him, saying he should also release a video about the 'G-23', a reference to 23 Congress leaders who have written to their party president Sonia Gandhi seeking organisational overhaul.
'People are trying to seize his house. There are talks of election, selection, inability to have a president... He (Rahul) should worry about it. The country is very much in safe hands. He should worry about his party,' Patra said.
Gandhi said the informal sector, which comprises the poor, farmers and small traders, has a lot of money which the government cannot touch. 'They want to break this sector and extort this money from them,' he charged.
'The effects of this attack on the informal sector will be seen soon. The results will be that India won't be able to produce jobs, because the informal sector produces 90 percent of the jobs. Once the informal sector is destroyed India won't be able to produce jobs,' he said.
'You are the ones who run this country, you take us forward and there is a conspiracy against you. You are being cheated and there is an attempt to turn you into slaves. We have to understand this attack and the entire country has to unite to fight against this,' he further said in the 4-minute video titled 'Let's talk economy'.
The former Congress president said in 2008, the world was hit by an economic recession that affected the entire world, including the US, Japan and China, but not India.
He said banks in the US and Europe collapsed, corporations collapsed and companies shut down but India was unaffected by the global recession as the UPA government was in power at the time.
Gandhi said he went to the then prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh and asked the reason why the entire world suffered an economic crisis but India remained unaffected.
'Manmohan Singh ji replied, Rahul if you want to understand India's economy, you will have to understand that India has two economic structures. One is the formal economy and the other is the informal economy,' Gandhi said.
He said the former PM told him, 'You know the big companies which constitute the formal sector. The informal sector comprises farmers, labourers, MSMEs. Till the time India's informal sector is strong, no economic storm can touch India'.
Gandhi's comments come ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament where the Congress party wants to corner the government over the state of the economy, besides other issues including the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese aggression at the border.
The Congress has also accused the government of failing to handle the economy as well as the pandemic, alleging that the lockdown has failed to have the desired effect and has hit the poor and the marginalised the hardest. PTI SKC KR RDM RDM