The Congress Chintan Shivir at Udaipur on Saturday demanded it is time to "reset" economic policies even as the party reaffirmed its commitment to economic liberalisation.
While making this demand at a briefing, former finance minister P Chidambaram said his party is also demanding the Centre must extend the GST compensation period, "at least by another three years" and cautioned the Government against deciding otherwise by making use of the majority in the GST council.
Chidambaram, who is the convenor of the Congress' committee at Chintan Shivir which is looking into the economic issues, said the Shivir declaration on Sunday will also contain the Congress perspective and ideas on "resetting economic policies".
Spelling out a detailed critique of the Modi government’s economic policies and pointing out that people are suffering from many livelihood issues, including unemployment and inflation, Chidambaram said the economic path has gone for the worse since the BJP government took over.
"A Congress-led government ushered in a new era of liberalisation in 1991. The country has reaped enormous benefits in terms of wealth creation, new businesses and new entrepreneurs, a huge middle class, millions of jobs, exports and lifting 27 crore people out of poverty during a 10-year period. After 30 years, it is felt that, taking into account global and domestic developments, it may be necessary to contemplate a
re-set of the economic policies", Chidambaram said.
"A re-set of economic policies must also address the questions of rising inequalities, extreme poverty among the bottom 10 percent of the population; India’s rank in the Global Hunger Index 2021 (101 out of 116 countries); and evidence of widespread nutritional deficiency among women and children.
A comprehensive review would also be justified by the health and education outcomes as revealed by the Annual State of Education Report 2021 and the National Family Health Survey-5 . We believe that a re-calibration of economic policies can influence health and education outcomes" , he added.
However, he stressed the Congress "certainly is not stepping back" from liberalisation but " is stepping ahead in the post-liberalisation era" and felt time has come to evaluate the policies with the time, its lessons and demands.