Calling the Centre’s National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), which aims to unlock value in brownfield projects by engaging the private sector, a ‘clearance sale’, the Congress on Thursday hit out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that the move will wipe out an entire generation’s efforts.
Congress party’s spokesperson Pawan Khera lashed out at the Narendra Modi government on Thursday and said: “The BJP is selling what Congress created in 70 years. And if the Centre is not stopped now, then an entire generation would get destroyed.”
This “clearance sale” of the assets as announced by the BJP government is lethal, he charged.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had recently unveiled an ambitious Rs 6 lakh crore National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP). This included unlocking value by involving private companies across infrastructure sectors namely from passenger trains and railway stations to airports, roads and stadiums. Close to 25 Airports Authority of India (AAI) airports, 15 railway stadiums, 40 railway stations, and an unidentified number of railway colonies are identified to receive private investments.
Khera, while addressing a press conference at the Gujarat Congress headquarters in Ahmedabad on Thursday said the Centre’s plan to sell or lease out public infrastructure would only create a monopoly in key sectors.
Congress-led governments, in the past, always avoided this, he said.
He alleged, “Before coming to power in 2014, BJP always asked what did Congress do during the last 70 years. The answer is the list of assets that you are selling now. While we built India in those 70 years, BJP is now busy selling the same.”
“It looks like BJP government is only focussed on votes and to make the party the world’s richest political party. For them, the country does not seem important,” he said.
Khera said that a sensible government treads carefully and ensures that strategic sectors don’t slip into the hands of only a few. “There is a difference in the way previously-led Congress government worked and the BJP dispensation.”
Khera also added that Congress leaders would tour the country and spread awareness about the Centre’s monetisation plans.
“After announcing the clearance sale of the country’s assets, the government now claims that they will give these very assets or possessions of heritage or historic value on lease. So, the ones who buy will take loans from banks. This means that our valuable assets will be purchased using our money, that is in the bank, and then the assets will be returned to us after destroying it completely,” he added.
When Rahul Gandhi said “crony capitalism” he is pointing at a few selected industrialists whose pockets will get filled with these monetisation plans, said Khera.
“Assets worth Rs 60 lakh crore will be handed, to a select few for just Rs 6 lakh crore,” said Khera.
The Modi-led government recently filled its coffers with Rs 23 lakh crore by increasing the fuel prices, he alleged. “This money is not spent on any work that would benefit the people. Where is the accountancy or transparency?” said Khera.
On the issue of polarisation, the senior Congress leader accused the BJP of raising communal points. He said, “In the three months that I have travelled across the country, I have not met anyone pro-Modi or pro-BJP person who is not unhappy with the political party. These people feel cheated, betrayed and are sad. The BJP is creating fault-lines between communities for being in power.”
Photo courtesy: Mayur Bhatt