Congress' Gujarat manifesto 'financially impossible': Arun Jaitley

09 December 2017, 08:45 PM
Congress' Gujarat manifesto 'financially impossible': Arun Jaitley
Congress' Gujarat manifesto 'financially impossible': Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday termed the Congress party's Gujarat poll manifesto as 'constitutionally and financially impossible' and said the promises like quota to Patidar and farm loan waiver can never be fulfilled.

On the day Gujarat went in for the first phase of polling, Jaitley said, "Having no model of development, the Congress party's manifesto is one of fiscal impossibility. The total revenue earned by the state is about Rs 90,000 crore per annum. The Congress promises a tax waiver of Rs 20,000crore."

This will bring down the effective revenue income of the state to Rs 70,000 crore, he said in a long Facebook post.

"To this may be added the Central devolution and the borrowings which under the FRBM Act have a three per cent cap. All these constitute the committed liabilities of salaries, pensions, social and developmental expenditure. There is no surplus money left after this committed expenditure," he said.

He further said, the Congress manifesto promises an additional bonanza of Rs 1,21,000 crore in terms of populist programmes and it doubles the expenditure while reducing the income, which is a fiscal nightmare.

"The two important limbs of the Congress manifesto comprise of one - a constitutional impossibility and the other a fiscal impossibility. The Congress party can well afford this risk since its victory is a political improbability," he said.

The next important limb of the Congress campaign, the finance minister said, is a promise of reservations over and above 49 per cent.

Citing the Supreme Court order, he said, it has repeatedly emphasised that the net total of all reservations cannot exceed 50 per cent since 1992 and states which have attempted to breach this cap have faced constitutional resistance.

"A promise of reservations beyond 50 percent has been made by the Congress and the PAAS to the people of Gujarat. This act of self-deception is a constitutional impossibility – which will never be judicially permissible," he said.

Taking on Congress' claim that Gujarat model of development does not exist, Jaitley said, this claim has been conclusively demolished by the recent data that Gujarat is the only state in India whose GSDP grew by 10 percent during the period 2012-2017.

"Gujarat grew at least two percent faster than the nearest growing state i.e. Madhya Pradesh. A double-digit growth rate is unheard during the period of economic downturn. Even the Chinese new normal during this period has been 6.5 percent," he said.

The fact that this growth rate has been sustained for five years in a row is an evidence of the success of the Gujarat model, which the Congress wants to wish away, he said.

Another distinct aspect of the Congress party's campaign, the finance minister said without naming its allies, is that it has clearly demolished its own state-level leadership and outsourced both its leadership and issues to those who had conventionally nothing to do with the party.

There is not a single state leader who is touring the state for the campaign, he said, adding the party has disconnected the traditional issues on which it has been campaigning since 2002 and opted for a divisive agenda of social repolarisation.

"The state paid a heavy price for such misadventures in the 1980s and would be very reluctant to repeat this experiment after having liberated itself from caste wars," he said.

First Published: Saturday, December 09, 2017 08:40 PM
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